The Chinese government has imposed sanctions on six members of Congress in apparent retaliation for U.S. action against a highly controversial so-called national security law that has been imposed covering Hong Kong, the city that the Chinese government has been taking more control over recently. That national security law “criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces,” CNN explains, and last Friday, the United States issued their own sanctions against 11 officials in Hong Kong and China over the measure. China’s retaliatory sanctions target Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, along with New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called out the recent U.S. sanctions in a Monday statement, saying, as CNN reports:
‘The US action (Friday) was a blatant interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and in China’s internal affairs. It was in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.’
At least a couple of the targeted Senators responded to the move. Rubio tweeted:
‘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.’
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 mehttps://t.co/Pk9yH1io3Z
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 10, 2020
Hawley’s response was a bit more serious. He tweeted:
‘#China announces it is sanctioning me in retaliation for speaking out against #ChineseCommunistParty and defending America’s interests. Retaliate all you want. I’m not backing down.’
#China announces it is sanctioning me in retaliation for speaking out against #ChineseCommunistParty and defending America’s interests. Retaliate all you want. I’m not backing down https://t.co/Mlx6xtw4cT
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 10, 2020
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) — which recently had its special economic status revoked in the U.S. — indicated that the city’s authorities are, at least on paper, on board with the central Chinese government’s actions against the U.S. The spokesperson said:
‘The US Government has gone further in recent days by imposing the so-called ‘sanctions’ against officials of the Central People’s Government and the HKSAR Government. The act is shameless and despicable, and is resented by the people of Hong Kong and the whole nation… The HKSAR Government fully supports the move and will facilitate its enforcement in accordance with the law.’
The back-and-forth constitutes the latest front in a long stream of antagonism between the Trump administration and the Chinese government. Besides the Trump administration’s tough economic sanctions against China, which the Chinese government responded to with their own sanctions, Trump himself has also been peddling the idea that China is somehow responsible for the Coronavirus pandemic. He’s even insisted on calling the Coronavirus the “China Virus,” although to suggest that the virus has any sort of nationality would be, of course, absolutely ridiculous. According to preliminary estimates, some of the viral outbreaks in the U.S. can even be traced to Europe.
In May, for instance, Trump tweeted:
‘Great reviews on our handling of Covid 19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. Ventilators, Testing, Medical Supply Distribution, we made a lot of Governors look very good – And got no credit for so doing. Most importantly, we helped a lot of great people!’
That is brazen nonsense — the U.S. has not done well amidst the pandemic.
Great reviews on our handling of Covid 19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus. Ventilators, Testing, Medical Supply Distribution, we made a lot of Governors look very good – And got no credit for so doing. Most importantly, we helped a lot of great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2020