US sanctions 14 Chinese officials over HK; Beijing says it will retaliate - GulfToday

US sanctions 14 Chinese officials over HK; Beijing says it will retaliate


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks at a news conference in Beijing. File/Reuters

Gulf Today Report

China lashed out at the US over new sanctions against Chinese officials and the sale of more military equipment to Taiwan, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news briefing on Tuesday.

She also urged the United States to withdraw the decision.

Earlier, the United States imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials over their alleged role in Beijing's disqualification last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong, prompting China to say it will retaliate.


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The US actions are part of what critics see as an effort by the Trump administration to put in place high-pressure tactics toward Beijing that could make it more difficult for President-elect Joe Biden to steady relations.

The action was widely seen as part of an effort by outgoing President Donald Trump to cement his tough-on-China legacy and also box president-elect Joe Biden, before he takes office on Jan.20, into hardline positions on Beijing at a time of bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress.

Chinese and US flags fly along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House in Washington. File/Reuters

The Cabinet’s office for Hong Kong affairs expressed "strong outrage and condemnation” over the sanctions leveled against 14 members of the standing committee of China’s legislature, which passed a sweeping Hong Kong National Security Law earlier this year.

The Trump administration earlier slapped sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Asian financial hub’s current and former police chiefs and other top officials in August for what it said was their role in curtailing freedoms in a crackdown on the territory’s pro-democracy movement.

“Beijing’s unrelenting assault against Hong Kong’s democratic processes has gutted its Legislative Council, rendering the body a rubber stamp devoid of meaningful opposition,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Taiwan’s government welcomed the announcement, saying it showed Washington was honoring its commitment to help strengthen the island’s defences.

"Taiwan has been at the receiving end of such military threats on a daily basis,” President Tsai Ing-wen told reporters Tuesday. "Only through engagement and by working together can we tackle the threats and challenges that beset our region and the world.”

The US earlier imposed sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the passage of the National Security Law, which is seen as rolling back civil liberties in the territory, as well as over abuses against Muslim minority groups in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

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