China Threatens Retaliation Over Sanctions

( On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced another round of targeted sanctions against Chinese officials believed to be responsible for the “transnational repression” of activists living outside of China including Uyghur Americans. Beijing has threatened to retaliate.

In criminal complaints unsealed Monday, the Justice Department has accused five people in the US of working on behalf of the Chinese secret police to stalk, harass, and spy on Chinese dissidents and pro-democracy activists residing in the United States. All five have been accused of having “allegedly perpetrated transnational repression” targeting US residents whose political actions and views are “disfavored” by China’s government.

In a statement on Monday, the Secretary of State accused China of harassing, intimidating, abducting, and surveilling members of religious and ethnic minority groups living outside of China as well as those who speak out against their treatment.

Blinken announced that the US would place visa restrictions on individuals who are believed to be “complicit in” or “responsible for” these actions.

In his statement, Blinken again called on Beijing to “cease its acts of transnational repression,” including attempting to silence Uyghur activists in the United States and denying exit permission to the activists’ family members in China.

In response to the State Department’s actions, on Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin slammed the move. He said Blinken’s statement was filled with “political lies” and said the visa restrictions “groundlessly” suppress Chinese officials.

Wang urged Washington to take an “objective and impartial” view of China’s human rights situation. He called on the US to revoke the sanctions immediately, adding that Beijing “firmly opposes” the action. If the sanctions aren’t revoked, “China will respond with reciprocal countermeasures,” Wang added.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in the US said by imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials, the United States was violating international norms and interfering in China’s internal affairs. Liu warned that China would take “firm and forceful measures” to defend its sovereignty.

The State Department did not specify which Chinese officials would be targeted by the new visa restrictions.