The Biden administration imposed new sanctions against 24 Chinese officials over the country’s crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The sanctions were announced on Tuesday ahead of a bilateral meeting between US and Chinese officials in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday.
The sanctions come after China’s government passed a sweeping national security law and subsequently, a new election law overhauling Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure only people considered “patriots” by the Chinese Communist Party can govern the state.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the laws “reduced Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”
The Trump administration already issued sanctions against the same officials after the national security law was passed.
The Trump administration’s sanctions froze the assets of the 24 officials in the US and barred them from entering the country.
The new sanctions mean will bar foreign financial institutions from knowingly doing business with the officials.
The sanctions target 14 vice-chairs of the Chinese legislature’s standing committee as well as senior officials in the country’s national security office in Hong Kong.
Blinken vowed to continue to “push back if necessary on China’s coercions or aggressions.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the sanctions and demanded the Biden administration stop interfering in China’s “internal affairs,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Zhao told reporters that China would “undertake forceful measures” to “defend the national interests and the rights of its citizens.”
The country previously imposed sanctions on US lawmakers and Trump administration officials in response to the previous round of sanctions.