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US imposes sanctions on Chinese officials for engaging in 'coercive activities'

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Washington DC | December 5, 2020 1:42:48 AM IST
US State Department on Friday imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials, accusing them of using coercion and intimidation tactics to suppress freedom of expression, against those who oppose Beijing's policies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement said that "The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long sought to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology and exert its influence all over the world. The CCP's United Front Work Department funds and supports overseas organizations to spread propaganda and coerces and bullies those who would oppose Beijing's policies."

This move is among the latest action taken by the Donald Trump administration, setting the tone for the US President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to take office in January.

While slamming the CPP, Pompeo said, "The United Front frequently intimidates members of academia, businesses, civil society groups, and Chinese diaspora communities, including members of ethnic and religious minority communities who speak out against horrific human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere in China."

He further said China uses coercive tactics to target individuals viewed as working against CCP interests. "These tactics include the release of personal details ("doxing") of their targets and even their family members online as a means of political intimidation," State Secretary said.

"Today, I am exercising my authority under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to impose visa restrictions on PRC and CCP officials, or individuals active in United Front Work Department activities, who have engaged in the use or threat of physical violence, theft and release of private information, espionage, sabotage, or malicious interference in domestic political affairs, academic freedom, personal privacy, or business activity," he said.

Moreover, Pompeo said that these "malign activities" are intended to co-opt and coerce sub-national leaders, overseas Chinese communities, academia, and other civil society groups both in the United States and other countries in furtherance of the CCP's authoritarian narratives and policy preferences.

On Thursday, the outgoing Trump administration had announced measures to reduce the US visitor visa validity period for CCP officials and their family members from ten years to one month.

A State Department official had told CNN that "This is in keeping with our ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the US Government to protect our nation from the CCP's malign influence."

"Under the US Immigration and Nationality Act, the Department of State has the authority to limit visa validity of groups of individuals hostile to US values," the spokesperson added.

The State Department under Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pursued staunch policy measures against the Chinese government citing rising global threats posed by the policies adopted by the CCP. (ANI)

 
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