China sanctions 11 US politicians, heads of organisations

BEIJING (AP) — China yesterday announced unspecified sanctions against 11 United States (US) politicians and heads of organisations promoting democratic causes, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who have already been singled out by Beijing.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian yesterday said the 11 had “performed badly” on issues concerning Hong Kong, where Beijing has cracked down on opposition voices following its imposition of a national security law in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city last month.

The number of Americans named by the ministry exactly equals the number of Chinese officials placed on a sanctions list by the US last week over the crackdown.

China showed its determination to defy such pressure yesterday by arresting leading independent media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raiding the publisher’s headquarters.

“The relevant actions of the US blatantly intervened in Hong Kong affairs, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, and seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing yesterday.

“China urges the US to have a clear understanding of the situation, correct mistakes, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

Others named by the Foreign Ministry included Senators Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith.

National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, National Democratic Institute President Derek Mitchell, International Republican Institute President Daniel Twining, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, and Michael Abramowitz, President of Freedom House, were also on the sanctions list, according to Zhao.

Beijing already placed a travel ban on Rubio, Cruz and Smith last month after Washington announced similar measures against Chinese officials linked to measures taken against minority in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.