China Sanctions Cruz, Rubio & Others

Flag of the People's Republic of China. Image by 古水.

China has initiated a set of unspecified sanctions against senior U.S. officials as part of an escalating conflict over human rights abuses. The sanctions were announced on Monday morning by Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have been said to target U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Ambassador Sam Brownback, House member Chris Smith, and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

“Xinjiang is entirely the internal affair of China, and the US has no right to interfere. The Chinese government’s determination to protect its sovereignty, and crack down against terrorism, separatism and extreme religious forces is unshakeable.”

Hua Chunying, translated by South China Morning Post

The actions are being taken in response to a set of sanctions leveled on Friday by the U.S. over treatment of Uighurs in Western China. Reports of mass incarcerations, re-education camps and potential genocide have been released by reporters and government agencies of various countries for years, and President Trump has been facing increasing pressure to act.

The U.S. sanctions have been aimed at Chinese officials in charge of the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, the Xinjiang political and legal committee, and the Xinjiang public security bureau.

While the Chinese sanctions address the U.S. Senators and other officials by name, they are unlikely to have much effect as none of the individuals targeted is believed to have significant financial exposure in China nor has been expected to travel to China in the immediate future.

Particularly noteworthy is the absence of President Trump or any of his immediate family from the China sanctions list, despite the large economic footprint the family (most famously, Ivanka) has in China and the immediate reduction in Trump wealth that such an action would precipitate.

Not including the President or his family in the sanctions despite his authorization indicates that China is using these actions as a threat of further punitive responses, should the United States expand its current sanction policy to include more senior Chinese officials. Increasing sanctions has been mentioned as a potential response to further human rights abuses in Western China as well as the continuing crackdown on Hong Kong.

Trump may also have been excluded because of his willingness to ignore human rights abuses in exchange for direct appeasement, as Trump mentioned in an interview with Axios a few weeks ago. Having successfully manipulated the President in the past with offers of a trade deal, it is reasonable to suppose they may prefer to pursue similar actions rather than escalate into a direct economic war with U.S. officials.

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.