Beijing accuses Washington of “meddling” in Hong Kong and interfering in China’s internal affairs after the United States sanctioned 14 other Chinese officials.
China has announced that it is revoking visa exemptions for holders of US diplomatic passports visiting Hong Kong and Macau, after the US imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on more than a dozen Chinese officials – the latest steps in an ongoing diplomatic row between the two. countries.
Beijing will also apply reciprocal sanctions against some US officials, members of Congress, staff of non-governmental organizations and members of their families, for their “despicable” behavior in Hong Kong, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Foreign Hua Chunying at a press conference.
“China once again urges the United States to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and interfering in China’s internal affairs, and not to embark on the wrong and dangerous further way, ”she said Thursday.
She declined to give the names of those sanctioned or to say when the sanctions would begin.
The United States on Monday imposed financial sanctions, as well as a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials for their role in passing a national security law in Hong Kong and for the disqualification of Beijing last month from opposition officials in Hong Kong.
The US action has been widely seen as part of an effort by outgoing President Donald Trump to solidify his legacy of harshness towards China and to push President-elect Joe Biden to take an equally tough stance on Beijing at a time when there is a broad bipartisan consensus to take a firm approach from China.
Biden takes office on January 20.
In August, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam and other senior officials for what she said was their role in restricting freedoms during a crackdown on the government. pro-democracy movement of the territory.
China’s latest move also came after the United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Wan Kuok-koi, a leader of Chinese organized crime group 14K Triad, and three entities “owned or controlled” by him.
US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Targeted Wan, also known as “Broken Tooth,” as Part of Wider Efforts to End Corruption in Several Countries in Asia and Africa , did he declare.
The statement said Wan was a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a largely ceremonial advisory body – a claim refuted by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua.
She also accused some US personnel of “fabricating lies and taking every opportunity to smear China.”
Under the sanctions, all properties of Wan and companies under US jurisdiction are frozen.
“Corruption knows no borders,” said a senior US official.
OFAC regulations generally prohibit Americans from dealing with designated individuals.
A senior US official told reporters that non-US actors who deal with them are also at risk of being blacklisted.
The Treasury said it was targeting Wan for the 14K Triad’s involvement in drug trafficking, illegal gambling, racketeering, human trafficking and other criminal activities.
The Treasury has also designated three entities owned or controlled by Wan: the World Hongmen History and Culture Association, based in Cambodia; The Hong Kong-based Dongmei Group; and the Palau China Hung-Mun Cultural Association, based in Palau.
He said the World Hongmen group had co-opted elites in Malaysia and Cambodia, pursuing a “model of overseas Chinese actors trying to disguise illegal criminal activity by framing their actions in terms of the China Initiative. Belt and Road (BRI) ”and other initiatives of the Chinese Communist Party.