China sanctions 11 US politicians, heads of organizations

BEIJING – China on Monday announced unspecified sanctions against 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who have already been singled out by Beijing.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday said the 11 had “performed badly” on issues concerning Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on opposition voices following its imposition of a national security law in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city last month.

The number of Americans named by the ministry exactly equals the number of Hong Kong and Chinese officials placed on a sanctions list by the U.S. last week over the crackdown.

China showed its determination to defy such pressure on Monday by arresting leading independent media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raiding the publisher’s headquarters.

“The relevant actions of the U.S. blatantly intervened in Hong Kong affairs, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, and seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations," foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing on Monday.

“China urges the U.S. to have a clear understanding of the situation, correct mistakes, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China’s internal affairs."

Four other lawmakers were named by the foreign ministry: Senators Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Pat Toomey and Representative Chris Smith.

Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, said he was sanctioned for defending the victims of Communist Party rule, including Hong Kong students fighting for democracy.