China sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong

China sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong
© Greg Nash

China has issued sanctions on former Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossHouse panel, Commerce Department reach agreement on census documents China sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong DOJ won't prosecute Wilbur Ross after watchdog found he gave false testimony MORE and other Americans, retaliating against the Biden administration’s warning about doing business in Hong Kong.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said Friday that the U.S. “concocted” the advisory to “groundlessly smear Hong Kong's business environment, and illegally imposed sanctions on several officials of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR [Special Administrative Region].”

“These acts gravely violate international law and basic norms governing international relations, and severely interfere in China's internal affairs. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” Lijian said.

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The move comes a week after the departments of Commerce, State, Treasury and Homeland Security issued an advisory warning that new laws in Hong King could negatively affect companies, particularly the new National Security Law. 

The advisory warned that the new law “introduced a heightened risk of PRC [People's Republic of China] and Hong Kong authorities using expanded legal authorities to collect data from businesses and individuals in Hong Kong for actions that may violate ‘national security.' ”

China also sanctioned Carolyn Bartholomew, chair of U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; former staff director of Congressional-Executive Commission on China Jonathan Stivers; DoYun Kim from National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; Adam Joseph King, senior program manager of the International Republican Institute; and Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all White House to host global COVID-19 summit next week Overnight Defense & National Security: US-Australian sub deal causes rift with France MORE said during a briefing on Friday that the administration is "aware of reports that the PRC has imposed sanctions on several individuals and NGOs, including at least one official from the previous administration." 

"We are undeterred by these actions, and we remain fully committed to implementing all relevant U.S. sanctions authorities. These actions are the latest examples of how Beijing punishes private citizens, companies and civil society organizations as a way to send political signals, and further illustrate the PRC’s deteriorating investment climate and rising political risk," Psaki continued. 

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The Hong Kong Democracy Council, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that supports Hong Kong autonomy, was also sanctioned on Friday.

Samuel Chu, managing director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council, said in a statement posted to Twitter that the sanctions are a “badge of honor,” calling it “the best validation of what and who we are fighting for.”

—Updated at 2:30 p.m.