China imposes sanctions on US officials in response to similar action by Washington

On Thursday, China imposed sanctions on US officials including US executives, congressional personnel, and non-governmental organisation personnel, stating their interference and bad performance on Hong Kong’s democracy issue. Beijing’s decision was announced by its foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying during a press conference on Thursday.

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Hua said that China has decided to impose “reciprocal sanctions” on US diplomats. The sanction order also included barring immediate family members of those US officials from travelling to Hong Kong or China. The Chinese authorities also cancelled visa-free access for US diplomats who otherwise held valid passports to travel into China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao.

Hua said that the decision was taken to stop American authorities from “using the Hong Kong issue to seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s core interests.”

Adding justification to the newly imposed sanctions, Hua said that those restricted “have performed egregiously and are primarily responsible on the Hong Kong issue.” At her daily briefing, she said,“China once again urges the U.S. side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path.”

Sanction was China’s way of punching back at US for its recently imposed sanctions on all the 14 vice chairpersons of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee on Monday. Washington imposed the sanctions citing Beijing’s clampdown over Hong Kong pro-democracy movement as the reason. To mute the pro-democracy calls in Hong Kong, China effectively imposed national security law, which many nations including US, Canada and UK referred to as violation of human rights.

In an extreme move to suppress pro-democracy calls emerging in the semi-autonomous territory, China even disqualified many of its pro-democracy lawmakers from legislature. Hong Kong, once a British colony was handed over to China as part of 1997 agreement, witnessed major violent pro-democracy protests last year. China justified applying the restrictive nation security law to restore stability and peace in the territory, which it doesn’t want to part away with.

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