China is imposing new sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens, including a handful of lawmakers, in retaliation for the action the U.S. took against Hong Kong officials last week.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced the new sanctions on Monday during a daily press briefing, according to The Wall Street Journal. The new sanctions will hit five GOP lawmakers who are considered hawks on China and have been critical of Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong: Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey.
Also included in the list of sanctioned Americans are Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, and Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz.
“In response to the erroneous actions of the U.S., China has decided to impose sanctions today on those individuals who behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” Lijian said at the press briefing. He did not specify the actions that would be taken. No Trump administration officials are being targeted.
China has previously issued sanctions on Cruz and Rubio for calling attention to Beijing’s oppression of Uyghers and other ethnic minorities in the country’s Xinjiang region.
On Friday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on at least 11 Hong Kong officials that have been working closely with Beijing to reform and restructure Hong Kong’s government and laws.
As The Daily Wire reports:
President Donald Trump took his strongest action yet against Chinese government forces looking to stifle freedom in Hong Kong, instituting dedicated sanctions against Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and at least ten other officials over their decision to follow China’s lead and press strict, anti-free speech controls on Hong Kong citizens.
The Chinese government, last month, passed a series of laws “reclaiming” Hong Kong and implementing a series of oppressive restrictions designed to quell protests and subject Hong Kong citizens, long considered freer than their Chinese counterparts, to draconian Chinese rules.
On July 1, a new national security law went into effect purportedly banning acts of sedition, subversion, and terrorism. The new law has been used to crack down on dissent from pro-democracy protesters that have demonstrated against Beijing’s heavy hand for months. The law also includes a rule that bans anyone from advocating for Hong Kong independence from anywhere in the world.
Early Monday, police arrested Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raided the offices of his newspaper Apple Daily. Lai was arrested on suspicion of “collusion” with foreign agents and accused of violating the new national security law. Lai has been an outspoken critic of Beijing and supporter of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, according to CNN.
“Democracy needs heroes, and Jimmy Lai used his media empire to advance the cause of freedom in Hong Kong,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party hated him for it and didn’t hesitate to declare him a threat to national security. Tech executives in the US and abroad should be disturbed by this news and fully understand who they’re dealing with when they supplicate before the CCP.”
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