China announces sanctions on six US individuals, one entity

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Beijing, Jul 24 (EFE).- China has announced sanctions on six US individuals and one entity in retaliation to those imposed by Washington earlier this month on seven Chinese officials for allegedly undermining the autonomy of Hong Kong, two days before the visit of the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to the country.

In a statement issued late Friday, the Chinese foreign ministry announced that sanctions will be imposed on former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission chair Carolyn Bartholomew, former staff director of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Jonathan Stivers, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs’ Kim DoYun, International Republican Institute senior program manager Adam King, and Human Rights Watch China director Sophie Richardson.

China also imposed sanctions on the Washington, DC-based nonprofit, Hong Kong Democratic Council.

“The US has concocted the so-called ‘Hong Kong Business Advisory’ to groundlessly smear Hong Kong’s business environment, and illegally imposed sanctions on several officials of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR,” the Chinese ministry said in the statement.

“These acts gravely violate international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely interfere in China’s internal affairs. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” it added.

This is the first set of sanctions imposed by Beijing since the approval in June of a new law to counter foreign sanctions and comes two days before the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, as part of an Asia tour.

On July 16, Washington warned US companies of “growing” risks of operating in Hong Kong and sanctioned seven Chinese officials for undermining the city’s autonomy.

According to the US government, many of the challenges for companies stem from the National Security Law that Beijing imposed a year ago in Hong Kong to quash anti-government protests that erupted in the semi-autonomous city’s streets in the second half of 2019 and to undermine its pro-democracy movement.

The relationship between China and the US began to deteriorate in March 2018 with the start of a trade dispute by then US president Donald Trump and the subsequent imposition of tariffs by both countries, which later led to diplomatic rows and technology standoffs.

Although contacts have been resumed after the arrival of Joe Biden at the White House, relations are still tense. EFE

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