China imposes sanctions on Wilbur Ross and six other Americans

Updates on US-China relations

China has sanctions imposed on former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and six Americans involved with human rights institutions in revenge for a similar move by Washington against Chinese officials in Hong Kong.

The Chinese Foreign Minister said that in addition to the sanctions Ross, who served in the Trump administration, was assigned to Carolyn Bartholomew, chairman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, and Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch.

China has also imposed sanctions on officials of the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and the Hong Kong-based Democratic Council in the United States. He did not specify what the sanctions involved.

The move comes two days before U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is scheduled to land in China for the second first-level meeting among countries since President Joe Biden took office in January.

This is the first time that Beijing has imposed sanctions under a new counter-sanctions law that allows the Chinese government to target individuals or groups that help foreign countries impose sanctions on China.

The foreign minister said China is responding to the recent US decision to impose sanctions on seven mainland Chinese officials based in Hong Kong.

When the United States issues sanctions, too warned U.S. companies that have faced increased risks operating in Hong Kong while China has tightened its grip on the financial center. The Biden administration said companies should be particularly concerned about Chinese counter-sanctions law.

The United States has invented the so-called “Hong Kong Business Council” to fund the Hong Kong business environment, and has illegally imposed sanctions on many [Chinese] “In response to the erroneous practice on the part of the United States, China has decided to take reciprocal countermeasures,” the Chinese foreign minister said in a statement.

The Biden administration did not comment. The United States had also announced new sanctions on China two days ahead of the first high-level meeting between the two parties under the Biden administration, which took place in Alaska in March.

Since the last U.S. sanctions were announced, Hong Kong has continued to target criticism from the government. Five members of a speech therapy union were arrested Thursday for illustrated books for children and accused of inciting hatred against the government.

Earlier this week, more executives from Apple Daily, the pro-democracy tabloid that has been shut down under pressure from China, have been accused under the national security law that China imposed on Hong Kong last year in its effort to crack down on the movement pro-democracy in the territory.

Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, said Friday that Hong Kongers have not lost any freedom since the legislation was passed. “If you look at the stock market, the real estate market and the technology sector, start-ups, even art and culture now, are all booming.”

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