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China sanctions Pompeo, 27 other Trump officials

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China announced on Wednesday it would slap sanctions on outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump.

The Chinese foreign ministry announced the sanctions around the time of U.S. President Joe Biden's inauguration and said it would work to cooperate with Biden's new administration.

But a spokeswoman for Biden's National Security Council on Wednesday called the sanctions quote "unproductive and cynical" and "an attempt to play to partisan divides," urging both Republicans and Democrats to condemn the action.

In its statement, the Chinese foreign ministry said Pompeo and others had quote "gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-U.S. relations."

The move reflected China's anger over an accusation Pompeo made on his final day in office, that China had committed genocide against Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region.

Biden's Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said Tuesday he agreed with that assessment.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed Pompeo's allegations Wednesday, calling him a "laughingstock" and a "clown."

The sanctions come after Trump imposed sanctions on Chinese officials and companies for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea.

The 28 ex-officials and their immediate family members being sanctioned also include trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security Advisers Robert O'Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, U.N. ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The sanctions bar them from entering mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao, and companies associated with them would be restricted from doing business with China.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in Xinjiang, where a United Nations panel has estimated at least 1 million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in camps.

Video Transcript

- China announced on Wednesday it would slap sanctions on outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under Donald Trump. The Chinese [? Foreign ?] [? Ministry ?] announced the sanctions around the time of US President Joe Biden's inauguration and said it would work to cooperate with Biden's new administration.

But a spokeswoman for Biden's National Security Council on Wednesday called the sanctions, quote, "unproductive and cynical" and "an attempt to play to partisan divides," urging both Republicans and Democrats to condemn the action.

In its statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Pompeo and others had, quote, "gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-US relations."

The move reflected China's anger over an accusation Pompeo made on his final day in office that China had committed genocide against Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region. Biden Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Tuesday he agreed with that assessment.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed Pompeo's allegations Wednesday, calling him a "laughingstock" and "a clown." China's latest decision comes after Trump imposed sanctions on Chinese officials and companies last week for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea.

The 28 ex-officials and their immediate family members being sanctioned also include trade chief Peter Navarro, National Security [? Advisors ?] Robert O'Brien and John Bolton, Health Secretary Alex Azar, UN Ambassador Kelly Craft and former top Trump aide Steve Bannon. The sanctions bar them from entering mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao, and companies associated with them would be restricted from doing business with China.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in Xinjiang, where a United Nations panel has estimated at least one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in camps.