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China Imposes Sanctions On US Congressmen, Others Over Hong Kong

tedcruzmarcorubioi aug10 lt

China imposed sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens including members of the Congress in retaliation to a similar move by Washington targeting an equal number of Hong Kong and Chinese officials for their role in crackdowns on political freedom in the former British colony.

Beijing sanctions target Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith.

The heads of five U.S.-based non-profit organizations and human rights groups - the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch - also have been subject to Beijing's ire.

The Congressmen have been vocal critics of Hong Kong's sweeping national security law that criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference. The new law expands the Chinese Government's authority in a Chinese region that has more western influence.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday imposing sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 others, including the Self Administered Region's current and former police chiefs.

The US Treasury Department said they were designated for implementing policies "directly aimed at curbing freedom of expression and assembly, and democratic processes, and are subsequently responsible for the degradation of Hong Kong's autonomy."

"In response to that wrong U.S. behavior, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced at a routine press conference Monday.

He did not specify what are the implications of the punitive action.

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