China on Tuesday blasted new US sanctions against officials involved in the clampdown on Hong Kong, calling the move “crazy and vile”.
The Trump administration on Monday froze any US assets and barred travel to the United States for 14 vice chairs of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which spearheaded a tough new security law in Hong Kong.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was holding Beijing accountable for its “unrelenting assault against Hong Kong’s democratic processes.”
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying slammed the move’s “vile intention to grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
“The Chinese government and people express strong indignation over and strongly condemn the United States’ rude, unreasonable, crazy and vile behaviour,” Hua said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday.
China’s rubber-stamp parliament pushed through the draconian new security law in June.
Critics say it decimates the freedoms once enjoyed in Hong Kong, enshrined in an agreement made before the 1997 handover from British colonial rule back to China.
China says the law and prosecution of critics is needed to restore stability after last year’s huge and often violent protests.
The United States has already slapped sanctions on Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, and has declared that it will no longer treat the financial hub as separate from China.
On Monday, Hong Kong police cited the law to arrest three people who last month chanted slogans at a university campus.