Biden Imposes His First Sanctions on Chinese Officials Ahead of Bilateral Meeting



Chun Han Wong | The WSJ

HONG KONG—The Biden administration added new sanctions against two dozen Chinese officials it says have undermined Hong Kong’s partial autonomy from Beijing, signaling a continuing strong U.S. line on an issue that has contributed to fraying bilateral ties.

Announced Tuesday evening in Washington, the measures marked the first time the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Chinese officials. The move comes shortly before senior U.S. and Chinese officials are due to arrive in Alaska on Thursday to hold the first high-level in-person talks between the two countries since President Biden took office in January.

The measures extend the confrontation between the U.S. and China over the governance of Hong Kong, where Beijing has stepped up suppression of dissent in the face of Western criticism. U.S. objections to Chinese policies in the former British colony have fueled bilateral tensions, along with discord over issues such as trade, technology and global influence.

In a statement on the new sanctions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited Beijing’s plans—approved by Chinese lawmakers last week—to revamp the electoral system in Hong Kong, a move meant to ensure that only people whom China’s Communist Party considers “patriots” will be allowed to govern the former British colony.

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