China’s foreign ministry has said it will introduce sanctions against a handful of US officials, including Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, from today. The move comes after Washington imposed sanctions on 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials whom it accused of curtailing political freedoms in the city. Tensions between the two super powers have escalated in recent months, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic and a decision by Beijing to introduce new security laws in Hong Kong.
The other US officials targeted include Senators Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith, as well as individuals at non-profits and rights groups.
Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry’s official spokesman made the announcement during a regular press briefing on Monday.
He said: “In response to those wrong US behaviors, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues.”
He did not specify what the sanctions entail.
The news of the sanctions against the US officials may not come as a surprise to Washington, as China made a similar move last month.
China opted to introduce sanctions against Senator Cruz and Rubio, among other top officials, after Washington penalised senior Chinese officials over the treatment of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region.
More to follow…