The government of China has issued sanctions against former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and 27 others from the administration of former US president Donald Trump. The sanctions were announced by the Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday, January 20, as the Trump administration stepped down to make way for the new Joe Biden administration.
The sanctions named high-level officials and diplomats from the Trump administration, who China has charged of having “seriously violated China’s sovereignty” and being “mainly responsible for such US moves on China-related issues.”
Among those included are Trump’s former chief strategist and senior counselor Steve Bannon (recently pardoned of fraud charges), his one-time national security advisors John Bolton and Robert O’Brien, and his National Trade Council director Peter Navarro. The statement also named Trump-appointed US ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, former US health secretary Alex Azar, former state department officials Keith J. Krach and David Stilwell, and former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger.
According to the statement, “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-U.S. relations.”
Under the Trump administration, relations between the US and China deteriorated due to Trump-instigated trade wars and attempts to blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic. The relationship was also hurt by US attempts to interfere in China’s domestic issues in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, including arms deals and an abortive diplomatic visit by Craft to Taiwan.
The new sanctions are the first time that China has targeted US officials. The sanctions will also be applicable to the families of the named individuals as well as businesses and companies associated with them, barring them from entering or operating in either mainland China or the autonomous territories of Hong Kong and Macau.
Pompeo responded to the news of sanctions with unsubstantiated claims of “genocide and crimes against humanity” by the Chinese government on its people. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson responded by dismissing Pompeo’s claims, saying that he “is turning himself into a doomsday clown and joke of the century with his last madness and lies.”