As police in Hong Kong stepped up a crackdown on pro-democracy figures, China slapped sanctions on 11 American citizens for behaving "egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues." Those sanctioned include Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth, as well as Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Pat Toomey, the BBC reports. Beijing acknowledged that the sanctions were tit-for-tat retaliation for the placing of US sanctions last week on 11 officials "responsible for the degradation of Hong Kong's autonomy," including Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.
The US sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials ban them from traveling to the US and freeze any US-based assets they have. It's not clear what exactly the Chinese sanctions on American citizens involve, but because few American lawmakers hold assets in China, they are seen as largely symbolic, the Guardian reports. Roth tweeted that the sanctions are "little more than an effort to distract attention from its wholesale assault on the rights of the people of Hong Kong." He added that the so-called "egregious behavior" he is being sanctioned for "was (proudly) standing up for the people of Hong Kong as they resist Beijing’s efforts to crush their freedoms." (Read more China stories.)