Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the latest in a slew of sanctions imposed in the final days of his term and following political violence in Washington, called the crackdown in Hong Kong "appalling".
China today likened outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a "praying mantis" in a colourful condemnation of the latest USA sanctions sparked by the mass arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.
The spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council made the remarks after the U.S. Department of State imposed so-called sanctions following the detention of Benny Tai and others by the Hong Kong police for suspected violations of the law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR in accordance with the law.
The Trump administration took another swipe at China and its biggest companies on Thursday, imposing sanctions on officials and companies for alleged misdeeds in the South China Sea and imposing an investment ban on nine more firms.
"Hong Kong's development from chaos to stability is unstoppable", Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in its first response to the sanctions today.
"People like Pompeo are nothing but laughable praying mantises who are trying in vain to stop the rolling wheels of history", the office said in a statement on Monday.
The metaphor stems from an old Chinese idiom that describes futility in which a mantis tries to stop a chariot with its legs.
Hong Kong was convulsed by seven months of huge and often violent democracy protests in 2019.
China previous year imposed a draconian security law in Hong Kong after widespread and sometimes violent protests that sought to preserve the territory's separate freedoms.
"This action by Hong Kong authorities is yet another stark example of Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined by the PRC [People's Republic of China]", Pompeo said in a statement.
The six people targeted for new sanctions include Frederic Choi, director of the national security division of the Hong Kong police, and Sun Qingye, a deputy to Zheng Yanxiong, who was appointed in July to head a new national security office in Hong Kong.
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