Eleven U.S. citizens have been retaliated against and sanctioned by China for putting pressure on the superpower this summer.
The punished individuals include Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and five others.
Kenneith Roth, Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch, was also sanctioned by the Chinese government. He called the move a distraction from the massive human rights violations in Hong Kong. Roth was banned from Hong Kong in January because of his searing report on the inhumane treatment of the people of Hong Kong by the hands of their government.
The Chinese government just announced unspecified "sanctions" against me. That is little more than an effort to distract attention from its wholesale assault on the rights of the people of Hong Kong. https://t.co/OupYRsdoKq
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) August 10, 2020
The White House called the move a “symbolic and ineffectual action” but has not said if President Trump plans to respond with further action.
The U.S. and China have had a rocky relationship the last few years and the coronavirus has only made it worse. Just this summer, Trump pulled out of WHO citing the organizations preferential treatment of China.
The president has also criticized the Chinese-based social media apps TikTok and WeChat. The U.S. abruptly closed and evacuated the Chinese consulate Houston last month, causing a lot of tension between China and the U.S.
“For China-US relations, we stand ready to work with the United States to build a relationship on coordination, cooperation and stability in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, but we will never submit to its bullying and power politics,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian August 10.
The full list of those under unspecified sanctions are: Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey; Congressman Chris Smith; Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth; National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman; National Democratic Institute president Derek Mitchell; International Republican Institute president Daniel Twining; and Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House.
“Chinese Communism is the most dangerous threat to freedom in the world, and I will never back down from fighting it,’’ said Sen. Cotton in a statement.
President Trump has yet to make public remarks about the sanctioning.
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