China announced on Wednesday sanctions against “lying and cheating” outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials in the Donald Trump administration.
The move was a sign of China’s anger at an accusation Pompeo made on his final day in office that China was committing genocide against its Uighur Muslims.
The accusations drew Beijing’s ire with Pompeo being described as “a laughing stock and a clown”.
Beijing announced the sanctions by releasing a statement around the time that Joe Biden was taking the presidential oath.
The statement said that Pompeo and the 27 others “gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations”.
Reuters reports that the other Trump officials to be sanctioned include trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security Advisers Robert O’Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, UN ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon.
Beijing’s statement said that they and their immediate family members would be banned from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao, and that companies and institutions associated with them would be restricted from doing business with China.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a media briefing on Wednesday: “Pompeo has made so many lies in recent years, and this is just another bold-faced lie.”
She said, “We hope the new US administration can have their own reasonable and cool-minded judgment on Xinjiang issues, among other issues.”
Biden’s choice to succeed Pompeo, Anthony Blinken, said on Tuesday he agreed with Pompeo’s genocide assessment.
He said: “The forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide.”