On Wednesday, China said it wanted to work with the new administration of US President Joe Biden, thus announcing penalties against “lying and cheating” by outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump.
The step was a sign of Chinese frustration, especially an allegation made by Pompeo on his final full day in office that China had committed genocide against its Uighur Muslims, an assessment he expressed that Biden’s decision to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, was.
The Chinese foreign ministry revealed the sanctions in a statement that appeared on its website at the time that Biden was taking the presidential oath, in a surprising repudiation of its alliance with Washington under Trump.
Pompeo and the others were “planning, promoting and carrying out a series of insane moves, seriously interfering with China’s internal affairs, undermining China’s interests, offending the Chinese people, and severely disrupting China-U.S. relations,” it said.
Trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security Aides Robert O’Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, UN envoy Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon were among the other outgoing and former Trump officials sanctioned.
The entry into mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao of the 28 former officials and immediate family members would be forbidden and businesses and organisations affiliated with them would be barred from doing business with China.
China’s decision was seen by Brian O’Toole, a sanctions analyst at the Atlantic Council think tank, as retaliatory and “political statements more than anything else.”
I expect that they would default to more than a well-defined constraint on a case-by-case application,” he said.”
‘Unproductive and cynical’
The decision by China to blacklist former Trump administration officials was “unproductive and cynical,” a spokeswoman for President Joe Biden’s National Security Council said, urging Americans from both parties to oppose the action.
Emily Horne, spokeswoman for Biden’s National Security Council, said in a statement to Reuters, “Imposing these sanctions on Inauguration Day is apparently an attempt to play into partisan divisions.”
“This unproductive and pessimistic move should be opposed by Americans of all sides. President Biden looks forward to working to put America to out-compete China with leaders of both parties,” Horne said.
‘Another bold-faced lie’
In the past year, China has imposed sanctions on US lawmakers, but it was an unprecedented act of contempt to threaten former and outgoing US leaders.
Pompeo, who, in his final weeks in office, unleashed a barrage of measures against China, declared on Tuesday that China had committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Uighur Muslims. Blinken said he agreed with the test on Tuesday.
“Blinken said, “The pushing of men, women and children into concentration camps; the attempt to re-educate them to adhere to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, in essence, speaks to an intention to commit genocide.
China has consistently denied allegations of violence in its Xinjiang zone, where at least one million Uighurs and other Muslims have been held in camps by a United Nations panel.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a media briefing in reaction to the Xinjiang allegations: “Pompeo has made so many lies in recent years, and this is just another bold-faced lie.”
“This American politician is known for lying and cheating, making himself a laughing stock, a clown.”
Hua said China hoped that “the new administration will work in the spirit of mutual respect with China, manage differences properly and conduct more win-win cooperation in more industries.”
“We hope that the new US administration may, among other things, have its own reasonable and cool-minded judgement on Xinjiang issues.”