China summoned the acting top US diplomat in Beijing on Tuesday to protest US sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong, and vowed to take reciprocal retaliation.

Iran PressAsia: The United States on Monday imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials over their role in adopting a national security law for Hong Kong and Beijing’s disqualification last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong.

This is likely the first time that all 14 vice-chairpersons of China’s lawmaking body, the National People’s Congress, have come under US sanctions, Reuters reported.

The sanctions came just after China’s top diplomat Wang Yi urged the United States to maintain a dialogue at all levels and encourage exchanges between legislators and other groupings of people.

Related news:

US imposes sanctions on 12 Hong Kong officials

China criticized the sanctions. Its foreign ministry said on its website on Tuesday that Chinese vice foreign minister Zheng Zeguang had summoned the acting representative in the US embassy to express “solemn protest and strong condemnation.”

In a statement on its website, the US embassy said its Chargé d’Affaires Robert Forden told Zheng that Beijing has used the law repeatedly to suppress freedom of expression and assembly in Hong Kong and to arrest Hong Kong residents who have peacefully raised their concerns over Beijing’s oppressive policies.

Zheng threatened “reciprocal” retaliation from China.

“US barbaric actions will only invoke the intense anger of the Chinese people against anti-China forces in the United States and cause 1.4 billion Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, to fully recognize the U.S. devious intentions and strengthen the resolve of the Chinese government in implementing the Hong Kong National Security Law,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and the Chinese foreign ministry’s office of the commissioner to Hong Kong issued separate condemnations of the U.S. sanctions.

104/207

Read more:

EU imposes new sanctions against China

China slams US sanctions related to Hong Kong as gangster logic