China sanctioned outgoing US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under former President Donald Trump, accusing them of “hatred” against the Chinese and carrying out “crazy” moves to harm its interests.
The announcement came as new US President Joe Biden was taking oath in Washington.
The Chinese foreign ministry’s move seemed to signal Beijing’s anger against Pompeo – routinely ridiculed by the Chinese government and state media – who on his final day in office said that China had committed genocide against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
The strongly worded statement, and its timing, also signalled Beijing’s anger and frustration against the Trump administration.
“Over the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people, have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations,’’ the Chinese foreign ministry statement said.
“The Chinese government is firmly resolved to defend China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests. China has decided to sanction 28 persons who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues.”
Other sanctioned former Trump officials include trade chief Peter Navarro, national security advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton, health secretary Alex Azar, UN ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon.
“These individuals and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China,” the foreign ministry said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the foreign ministry had dismissed the charges of genocide against the Uighur community in Xinjiang.
Responding to the Xinjiang allegations, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told the regular ministry briefing: “Pompeo has made so many lies in recent years, and this is just another bold-faced lie.”
“This US politician is notorious for lying and cheating, is making himself a laughingstock and a clown.”
Hua said China hoped “the new administration will work together with China in the spirit of mutual respect, properly handle differences and conduct more win-win cooperation in more sectors.”
“We hope the new US administration can have their own reasonable and cool-minded judgment on Xinjiang issues, among other issues.”