Home » China sanctions former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, others

China sanctions former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, others

China said on Friday that it has imposed counter-sanctions on United States individuals including former US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in response to recent US sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong.

The sanctions are the first imposed by China under its new anti-foreign sanction law, passed in June, and come days before US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is due to visit China amid deeply strained ties.

lso imposed unspecified “reciprocal counter-sanctions” on current and former representatives of a range of organisations, including the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

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

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

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

House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing that the US was “undeterred” by China’s move, which came after Washington last week issued its business advisory for Hong Kong and imposed sanctions on more Chinese officials over Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in the former British colony.

“These actions are the latest examples of how Beijing punishes private citizens, companies and civil society organisations as a way to send political signals,” Psaki said, adding that they illustrated the very risks about which the US government had warned.

Ross could not be immediately reached for comment.

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

Around the time President Joe Biden was sworn in as president in January, China announced sanctions against outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top Trump officials.​ The Biden administration called that move “unproductive and cynical.”

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