The Chinese government has announced sanctions against Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) in retaliation to his speaking out against human rights abuses that target ethnic and religious minorities.
The move follows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to impose sanctions against three senior members of the Chinese Communist Party, one a ruling politburo member. As a result, certain U.S. assets and travel were frozen.
China claimed the U.S. sanctions interfered with China’s internal affairs and would harm bilateral relations between the two nations.
Smith has been a harsh critic of China’s handling of human rights issues.
“The U.S. sanctions Chinese officials for egregiously abusing human rights and Beijing responds by sanctioning Members of Congress for defending human rights,” Smith said. “We must continue to stand with the Chinese people against an increasingly authoritarian Chinese government that represses legitimate desires for liberty and justice.”
In addition to Smith, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ted Cruz (R-Florida) were also sanctioned by the Chinese government. ”
This story was updated at 5:25 PM with comment from Smith.