US sanctions: China targeting 11 US citizens in ongoing political skirmish

China plans to sanction 11 US citizens including GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio after the US imposed similar measures on the country last week.

The announcement comes after the US sanctioned Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed chief executive Carrie Lam and several other current and former officials for their enforcement of greater control of the region.

“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s Foreign Ministry did not provide additional information on what the sanctions would involve.

“In response to the erroneous actions of the US, China has decided to impose sanctions today on those individuals who behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, according to the Journal.

According to CNN, Rubio and Cruz were sanctioned alongside Sens. Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Pat Toomey, as well as Rep. Chris Smith.

China had previously imposed sanctions on Rubio and Cruz last month after the US passed legislation to sanction the country over its treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. Rubio has been extremely outspoken about the human rights abuses inflicted on the minority group including their placement in detention centers. China has repeatedly claimed that the camps are “re-education” camps, and deny any human rights abuses.

“I had no intention of traveling to China soon anyway,” Rubio said last month on Fox News’ American Newsroom. “I didn’t think they were going to roll out the welcome mat. I’m actually proud of it. Anytime a totalitarian, evil regime is against you, you know you’re on the right side.”

After the announcement of Chinese sanctions on Monday, Rubio tweeted: “I don’t want to be paranoid but I am starting to think they don’t like me.”

Other US citizens sanctioned by China included Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch, Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy, and Michael Abramowitz of Freedom House, The Journal reported.

“The Chinese government just announced unspecified ‘sanctions’ against me. That is little more than an effort to distract attention from its wholesale assault on the rights of the people of Hong Kong,” Roth said in a tweet.

Roth, Gershman, and Abramowitz all supported pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong.

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