China sanctions high-ranking Trump administration officials after Biden’s inauguration

In what can be described as an indirect support and approval for the newly sworn-in US administration led by Joe Biden, the Chinese government has announced sanctions against outgoing secretary of state Mike Pompeo and 27 other high-ranking officials under former United States President Donald Trump, accusing them of “prejudice and hatred against China.”

In a strongly-worded statement published after US President Joe Biden was sworn into office in the early hours of Thursday morning, Beijing time, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the former Trump administration officials were “anti-China politicians” who had undermined the relationship between the US and China.

“(They) 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-US relations,” the statement said.

China’s move underscores the fractious and oftentimes hostile relationship between Washington and Beijing during Trump’s time in office.

Many of the 28 outgoing and former officials sanctioned by Beijing were considered to be influential in helping to steer the Trump administration’s more confrontational China policy, which saw clashes with Beijing on issues relating to trade, technology, regional security and human rights.

Among those listed by Beijing were former trade adviser Peter Navarro; former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and his former deputy Matt Pottinger; former health secretary Alex Azar; and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. Former top Trump aide Steve Bannon and former security adviser John Bolton were also included.

The 28 former officials and their immediate family members would be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement. In addition, companies and institutions associated with those named would be restricted from doing business with China.

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