WASHINGTON – The Chinese government on Wednesday slapped sanctions on former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security advisor Robert O’Brien and former trade advisor Peter Navarro, along with other members of the Trump administration. The move came after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
“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,” wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
“China has decided to sanction 28 persons who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues,” the statement also said.
The Chinese government also named former deputy national security advisor Matthew Pottinger, former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell and Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach.
Former national security advisor John Bolton and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were also sanctioned Wednesday.
“These individuals and their immediate family members are prohibited from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao of China. They and companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China,” wrote the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
The crumbling relationship between Washington and Beijing intensified under the Trump administration following an attempt by the world’s two largest economies to mend trade relations.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has previously said the Trump administration “is pressing the accelerator to trash China-U.S. relations.”
“Certain U.S. politicians are so irresponsible that they will say whatever needs to be said to make China a target,” she added last summer.
Her comments followed a blistering speech by then-U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr in which he accused the Chinese government of human rights abuses, espionage and economic blitzkrieg.
“The People’s Republic of China is now engaged in an economic blitzkrieg—an aggressive, orchestrated, whole-of-government campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower,” Barr said during a July 16 speech.
In June, O’Brien slammed China for a laundry list of offenses before saying that “the days of American passivity and naivety regarding the People’s Republic of China are over.”
Pompeo has previously described Huawei and other Chinese state-backed businesses as “Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence.” In July, Pompeo announced that the U.S. was looking at banning TikTok as well as other Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns.
The Trump administration also squarely placed blame on China for the deadly health crisis caused by the coronavirus.