China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Friday that it will sanction seven U.S. individuals, including former Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, in response to the U.S. government’s reprimands issued last week against several other Chinese officials for the “crackdown” in Hong Kong.
The U.S. announced the sanctions last Friday as part of an economically-charged warning about “growing risks” to international companies operating in the country and China’s special administrative region.
In its response, China accuses Washington of “inventing” this warning to “baselessly discredit Hong Kong’s business environment and illegally sanction many officials of Chinese central government agencies,” according to the note posted on the Ministry’s website.
Thus, “in response to the irregularities committed by the United States, China decided to take reciprocal countermeasures” affecting Ross as well as the chairwoman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Committee (USCC), Carolyn Bartholomew, among others.
China emphasizes once again that “Hong Kong affairs are purely internal affairs” and that the US sanctions “violate international law and seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs”, hence the “strong condemnation” by the Beijing authorities.