Top U.S. Republicans have urged President Joe Biden to take tougher action against China after Beijing announced sanctions on outgoing American officials just minutes into Biden taking office, reports said on Friday.
Michael McCaul, the leading Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted that Beijing had shown its true colours by sanctioning U.S. officials for telling the truth.
McCaul tweeted that the Communist Party was “guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide.”
“I strongly urge the Biden administration to quickly condemn these baseless, impotent sanctions and make good its early commitments to prioritise strategic competition with the Communist Party,” he said.
Analyst Sarah Zheng writing for South China Morning Post on Friday said that political consensus in Washington for a tougher policy on China had hardened.
Zheng noted that Beijing’s increasingly assertive foreign policy would make it difficult for an easing in the strategic rivalry.
China had announced sanctions against a list of U.S. individuals and their families just minutes after Biden was sworn in on Thursday.
The list included former members of the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trade Adviser Peter Navarro, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Health Secretary Alex Azar and Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger.
The South China Morning Post reported that China’s foreign ministry accused them of “seriously violating China’s sovereignty” and being largely responsible for a “series of crazy moves” in the U.S. policy on China.
“China has pointed out multiple times that these anti-China politicians will pay for their crazy acts,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
“We hope the new U.S. administration will view China and China-U.S. relations in an objective and rational manner,” she said.
Chinese action against the U.S. officials came against the backdrop of Pompeo’s statement on Beijing’s repression of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in the far western region of Xinjiang which amounted to “genocide and crimes,” said Zheng.
Moreover, Washington had earlier imposed sanctions against Chinese officials and entities over the policies in Xinjiang, as well as on Hong Kong and Chinese officials over Beijing’s political crackdown in Hong Kong.
Jim Risch, head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted that in sanctioning 28 national security officials, China’s Communist Party was already testing the Biden administration’s “resolve to continue a tougher, competitive approach towards China.”
“Together, Republicans and Democrats must show Beijing we will not be deterred from defending U.S, interests,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Biden’s National Security Council called the Chinese sanctions “unproductive and cynical,” and urged Americans from both parties to condemn the move.