China has announced sanctions to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other key members of the Trump administration, accusing them of undermining Beijing’s “national sovereignty, security and development interests” and further claiming that they’ve shown “prejudice and hatred against China.”
The announcement from the Chinese foreign ministry doesn’t list any examples of specific accusations, but many of the officials listed have been critical of the Communist country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and other concerns.
The move against top former Trump officials, which was announced during the inauguration of President Joe Biden, bars them and their family members from entering China, Hong Kong and Macau, or doing business in China.
In addition to Pompeo, sanctions are being levied against former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro; National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien; Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell; Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger; Health Secretary Alex Azar; Under Secretary of State Keith Krach; and United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft. The country announced it is also leveling sanctions against former Trump associates John Bolton and Stephen K. Bannon, who were in the Trump administration earlier in the former president’s term.
“The Chinese government is firmly resolved to defend China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests,” China foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.
Trump—who has spent months blaming China for the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 400,000 Americans, and blocked most travel to the United States from China— left the White House Wednesday morning to travel to his post-presidential residence in Florida, without attending Biden’s inauguration.
The former president launched a trade war with China in 2018 and took aim at Chinese social media sites, including TikTok.
Before leaving office, Pompeo, also an outspoken critic of China, released a statement accusing the Chinese government of genocide and crimes against humanity—charges the Chinese government has denied—because of the country’s treatment of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. It was the final move in what had become an increasingly tense relationship between the Trump administration and China.
A day before issuing the sanctions, Hua called Pompeo a “doomsday clown and joke of the century” during a press briefing.
None of the officials named in the sanctions immediately responded to China’s announcement. Pompeo didn’t immediately respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment.
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