Daily US Times: China has said it will impose sanctions on 11 US citizens including senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and other high profile officials.
The sanctions come in response to a decision by the United States to sanction 11 Chinese officials and allies in Hong Kong for curtailing political freedoms.
Among those targeted by Beijing were Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and the executive director of charity Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth.
Beijing did not target any officials from the Trump administration.
Also on the list were Senators Josh Hawley, Pat Toomey, Tom Cotton and Representative Chris Smith – all Republicans – as well as other individuals from non-profit organisations and rights groups.
China said the sanctions were a direct response to those levied by the United States against officials in Hong Kong.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “In response to those wrong US behaviours, China has decided to impose sanctions on individuals who have behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues.”
The ministry spokesman did not specify any details of the sanctions.
Last month, China had already announced sanctions against Mr Cruz and Mr Rubio and other officials, after the US heavily criticised China for its treatment of the Uighur ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and said it would sanction top Chinese communist party officials.
Relations between the Washington and Beijing have been deteriorating for months. The US has publicly criticised China over its actions in Hong Kong, its persecution of the Uighur minority and its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. President Donald Trump has frequently attempted to shift the focus towards Beijing during the US’s worsening coronavirus pandemic, calling the disease the “China virus” during press briefings.
On Friday, Mr Trump signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam as well as the territory’s current and former police chiefs, freezing assets and barring Americans from doing business with them.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said responding to those sanctions, China “resolutely opposes and strongly condemns such blatant interference in Hong Kong affairs”.
He added: “I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that no external forces can interfere in.”
“China urges the US to recognise the situation and correct its wrongdoings, and not to go further and further on the wrong path.”