China announces tit-for-tat sanctions against US lawmakers, rights body heads over Hong Kong issues

August 11, 2020 10:40 pm0 commentsViews: 54

A man waves an American flag at a protest rally in Hong Kong as demonstrators called on US lawmakers to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(TibetanReview.net, Aug11’20) – In another tit-for-tat action against the United States, China on Aug 10 announced sanctions against what it called 11 US officials, including lawmakers and democracy and human rights NGOs, accusing them with “egregious records on Hong Kong affairs”. The official Xinhua news agency reported Aug 10 that the announcement was made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press briefing.

The occasion was when he was asked to comment on the sanctions by the US government against 11 officials of the Chinese central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

The unspecified sanctions, applied from Aug 10, named Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey, Representative Chris Smith, and Carl Gershman (President of the National Endowment for Democracy), Derek Mitchell (President of the National Democratic Institute), Daniel Twining (President of the International Republican Institute), Kenneth Roth (Executive Director of Human Rights Watch), and Michael J Abramowitz (President of Freedom House).

While announcing the sanctions, Zhao has said his government firmly rejected and condemned the US government’s “so-called sanctions” against Chinese officials, which incidentally numbered 11, including Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, for their role in the adoption and implementation of China’s repressive national security law for Hong Kong.

Zhao has maintained that the US sanctions “openly meddles with Hong Kong affairs, blatantly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and gravely violates international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

Meanwhile, the worst fears about the national security law being meant to suppress democratic freedom and rights appear to have begun to come true with the arrest of the special administrative region’s media tycoon Jimmy Lai and others known for their strong opposition to China’s undermining of Hong Kong citizens’ democratic rights and freedom.

The Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested under the national security law as part of an investigation into an online group that called for foreign countries to sanction Hong Kong, and received more than HK$1 million (US$129,000) from overseas bank accounts, reported the scmp.com Aug 11.

Others arrested included one of his sons, the newspaper’s senior executive, and three activists, the report said.

China has been widely condemned across the free world for reneging on its “one country, two systems” promise to the people of Hong Kong made during Britain’s handover of the island to it in 1997.

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