China’s ruling communist party announced Monday it was imposing sanctions on 11 Americans, including some lawmakers, in response to sanctions imposed by the United States last week.
Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said at a press conference that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “resolutely opposes” and “vehemently condemns” the Trump administration’s actions.
“In response to the erroneous actions of the United States, the Chinese government decided to sanction, effective from today, those who behaved badly on issues regarding Hong Kong,” Zhao said.
In addition to Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), China is sanctioning Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).
All have been vocal about human rights issues in China, including the CCP’s brutal treatment of some one million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic minority group who live in Xinjiang, a region the CCP took over in 1949.
The regime is also targeting Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy; Derek Mitchell, president of National Democratic Institute; Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch; Daniel Twining, president of International Republican Institute; and Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.
President Donald Trump on Aug. 7 sanctioned Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, and 10 other officials for undermining the city’s autonomy.
The 11 officials have helped implement a national security law passed last month that has led to greater authoritarian control over Hong Kong.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement regarding the sanctions.
Trump in July ended Hong Kong’s special status with America because top officials deemed the city no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China. The same day, he signed into law a bill that would sanction officials and banks involved in crushing the city’s freedoms.
The Chinese regime prefers Trump doesn’t win a second term in November, U.S. intelligence officials said in a recent analysis.
The Trump administration has in recent months escalated actions against the Chinese regime. Previous CCP retaliations have included sanctions against Rubio and Cruz.
“Last month China banned me Today they sanctioned me I don’t want to be paranoid but I am starting to think they don’t like me,” Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote on Twitter Monday morning.
Roth, the Human Rights Watch official, said the CCP’s sanctions were “little more than an effort to distract attention from its wholesale assault on the rights of the people of Hong Kong.”
“Arresting publishers, barring pro-democracy candidates, indefinitely postponing elections—those are the hallmarks of the Chinese Communist Party. Sanctioning me is a mere footnote,” he added in a social media statement.
Lily Zhou, Eva Fu, and Cathy He contributed to this report.