China on Monday sanctioned 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organisations in retaliation for the United States imposing sanctions on Hong Kong officials last week.
The sanctioned U.S. individuals include Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both senators, who had been previously criticized by Beijing, as well as heads of agencies and non-profits such as Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz.
The 11 sanctioned individuals behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing.
Mr Zhao did not, however, specify what the sanctions consisted of.
The move comes after the U.S. on Friday announced sanctions on officials accused of suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong, including the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, police chief Chris Tang and justice secretary, Teresa Cheng.
The sanctions were introduced in reaction to Beijing’s imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong in late June, and for postponing for one year elections in which the government was expected to fare poorly.
“The relevant actions of the United States blatantly intervened in Hong Kong affairs, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, and severely violated international law and the basic norms of international relations’’ Mr Zhao said.
Earlier on Monday, Hong Kong police arrested media mogul and outspoken pro-democracy figure Jimmy Lai on accusations of breaching the new national security law.
Police raided the offices of pan-democratic tabloid Apple Daily, which was founded by Mr Lai.
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