China responds by sanctioning former US Secretary of Commerce Ross and others


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US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross speaks during the third annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, United States, September 14, 2020. REUTERS / Erin Scott / Pool / File Photo

BEIJING / WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – China on Friday announced that it has imposed counter-sanctions on U.S. individuals, including former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in response to U.S. sanctions against Chinese officials in Hong Kong.

The sanctions are the first imposed by China under its new anti-foreign sanctions law, passed in June, and come days before US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visits China in the midst of deeply strained ties.

China has also imposed unspecified “reciprocal counter-sanctions” on current and former representatives of various organizations, including the Congressional Executive Commission on China and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Other named institutions included the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Washington-based Hong Kong Democracy Council.

“The US side concocted the so-called Hong Kong business advice, baselessly defamed Hong Kong’s business environment and illegally sanctioned Chinese officials in Hong Kong,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. communicated.

“These actions seriously violated international law and basic principles of international relations, and seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs,” the ministry said.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on China’s latest measures, which came after Washington last week imposed sanctions on more Chinese officials over Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. Read more

Last week, the US government also warned of deteriorating trading conditions in the former British colony which returned to Chinese control in 1997.

Ross could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was the second time this year that China has imposed sanctions on officials who served under former President Donald Trump, who took a hard line on Beijing and confronted it over trade, business practices, human rights and other issues.

Around the time Biden was sworn in as president in January, China announced sanctions against outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other senior Trump officials. Read more

The Biden administration called the move “unproductive and cynical.” Read more

Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson, who was sanctioned by China on Friday, called the move “hollow”.

“These are diplomatic crises designed to distract from Beijing’s complicity in crimes against humanity,” she said, referring to alleged human rights violations by China in its western region of Xinjiang . China has dismissed the charges.

Reporting by Tony Munroe in Beijing and Michael Martina, David Shepardson, David Brunnstrom and Karen Freifeld in Washington; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Peter Graff and Andrew Heavens

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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