The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that American officials who have engaged in “nasty behavior” concerning Taiwan and Hong Kong will be subjected to sanctions and pay a “heavy price” for following the “wrong path.”
“Owing to the wrong actions of the United States, China has decided to impose sanctions on responsible U.S. officials who have engaged in nasty behavior on the Taiwan issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference on Monday.
Hua also expressed anger at the United States for imposing sanctions against six officials involved in the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists and legislative candidates last week and said retaliatory sanctions would be imposed on members of the U.S. Congress, American government officials, members of non-governmental associations, and their families. She did not specify the precise nature of the sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the Hong Kong mass arrests Friday, describing the arrests as “yet another stark example of Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined” by the Chinese government.
The U.S. government named the six sanctioned individuals and specified the penalties against them, including bans on traveling to the United States or accessing its financial system.
On Taiwan, the Chinese government is evidently angry about the Trump administration loosening regulations concerning contact between American and Taiwanese officials. Beijing was also enraged by the announcement U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft would visit Taiwan in the last days of the Trump administration.
Craft’s trip was canceled at the last minute due to the “upcoming presidential transition,” to the dismay of regional democracy advocates who fear the Biden administration will reverse Trump’s policy of bold support for Taiwan. Craft ended up talking to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen remotely last week, which still aggravated Beijing.
Hua said on Monday that China had “already decided” to impose sanctions before Craft’s trip to Taiwan was canceled.