By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 22: China on Wednesday imposed sanctions on 28 individuals from the US, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over “crazy actions that have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs”. The statement from the Chinese foreign ministry came as Joe Biden was being sworn in as the US President and included names of Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs David Stilwell, health secretary Alex Azar and UN envoy Kelly Craft.
The Biden administration has said that China’s move to sanction US officials under the Trump administration was “unproductive and cynical” and “an attempt to play to partisan divides.” Beijing also sanctioned former Trump national security advisor John Bolton and former advisor Stephen Bannon. China accused the sanctioned US citizens for their selfish political interests who showed no regard for the interests of the people of China and US.
The statement further read, “These individuals and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering the mainland of China, Hong Kong and Macao . . . They, and companies and institutions associated with them, are also restricted from doing business with China.” The Beijing administration had put sanctions on 11 US citizens last year including legislators from the Republican Party in response to US’ sanctions on officials accused of curtailing political freedom in Hong Kong.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called on the new US administration to put bilateral relations back on track from the “severe damage to China-US relations over the past four years [which] was caused precisely because the Trump administration made fundamental mistakes in its strategic perception of China.” She added that the outgoing administration viewed China as its biggest strategic competitor or enemy as it interfered in China’s internal affairs to slander China.
“Americans on both parties should criticise this unproductive and cynical move. President Biden looks forward to working with leaders in both parties to position America to out-compete China,” said the council spokeswoman Emily Horne. Newly elected President Biden signalled it will maintain a tough stance towards China. His designated Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared his predecessor, Mike Pompeo’s views that Beijing’s incarceration of minority Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang amounted to genocide and crimes against humanity.