China sanctioning Rubio, Cruz in retaliatory move over Hong Kong

China sanctioned 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes on Monday, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), after the Trump administration hit 11 individuals with sanctions last week over Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijan said the 11 U.S. politicians on its list had “performed badly” on issues concerning Hong Kong, The Associated Press reported. China has cracked down on opposition voices after imposing a national security law in the semi-autonomous territory last month. 

“The relevant actions of the U.S. 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,” Lijian said at a daily briefing on Monday, according to the AP. 

“China urges the U.S. 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,” the spokesperson added. 

Other lawmakers on the list are Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). The list also includes 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, according to the newswire. 

Last week the Trump administration announced that Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, was on its list of 11 individuals being hit with sanctions. The sanctions targeting Lam and other Hong Kong and Chinese officials is the latest escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Beijing

Beijing last month said it would sanction Rubio, Cruz and Smith in a retaliatory move after the Trump administration took similar action against Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against China’s minority Uighur population in the western region of Xinjiang.

China’s legislature in June passed the controversial national security law that critics say will undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong granted under the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong. The proposed law prompted months of anti-government protests in the city.

Tags China Chris Smith Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong Hong Kong national security law Josh Hawley Marco Rubio Pat Toomey sanctions Ted Cruz Tom Cotton

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