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World China imposes sanctions on US officials

03:04  24 july  2021
03:04  24 july  2021 Source:   bbc.com

China threatens ‘death knell’ for Hong Kong dissidents as US sanctions officials

  China threatens ‘death knell’ for Hong Kong dissidents as US sanctions officials Secretary of State Antony Blinken blacklisted seven Chinese officials for their role in the crackdown on Hong Kong, as the mainland communist regime vowed to retaliate against dissidents and the United States. © Provided by Washington Examiner “Beijing has chipped away at Hong Kong’s reputation of accountable, transparent governance and respect for individual freedoms and has broken its promise to leave Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy unchanged for 50 years,” Blinken said Friday.

China is imposing sanctions on several US individuals and organisations in response to recent US sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong.

Wilbur Ross wearing a suit and tie: Those targeted include former US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross © Reuters Those targeted include former US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross

Those targeted include former US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

The counter-sanctions come days before US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is due to visit China.

The US sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong were because of their role in the security crackdown in the territory.

Washington also warned its business community of the growing risks of operating in Hong Kong.

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China introduced the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year in response to massive pro-democracy protests. It criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

China's foreign ministry said on Friday that the recent US sanctions were designed to "groundlessly smear Hong Kong's business environment" and "gravely violate international law and basic norms governing international relations".

It said it would impose sanctions on seven US individuals and entities including Mr Ross.

As commerce secretary under former President Donald Trump, Mr Ross expanded the number of firms that could not trade with American firms without a prior license, including Chinese telecom giants like Huawei and ZTE.

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  Syria Accuses Israel of New Attack After China Promises Support "China strongly supports Syria in safeguarding state sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.Following reports Monday of explosions in the country's northwest, the Syrian Defense Ministry released a statement in which an official source said that "the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression towards southeast Aleppo, targeting some sites in the Al-Safira area.

Others sanctioned by China include Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director; Carolyn Bartholomew, chair of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission; and Adam King of the International Republican Institute.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the US was "undeterred" by China's retaliation.

"These actions are the latest examples of how Beijing punishes private citizens, companies and civil society organisations as a way to send political signals," she said.

  • BACKGROUND: China brings in new law to fight Trump's sanctions

The relationship between Beijing and Washington became even more strained under the Trump administration. They remain sour on issues including the origins of Covid-19, human rights and cybersecurity.

This weekend, Ms Sherman will travel to China in an effort to address deteriorating ties. It will be the most senior official visit under President Joe Biden.

Mr Ross is just the latest former member of the Trump administration to be hit with sanctions by China. In January, it announced sanctions against outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top Trump officials.

The Biden administration called that move "unproductive and cynical".

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