China Bans Pompeo, Bolton, and Other Officials after Uyghur ‘Genocide’ Designation

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks at the State Department in Washington, D.C., December 19, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

China’s foreign ministry announced sanctions on 28 American officials on Wednesday, including a number of outgoing members of the Trump administration.

The sanctions were revealed during President Biden’s inauguration, and a day after former secretary of state Mike Pompeo labeled China’s treatment of Uyghur and other Muslim minorities a “genocide.” Pompeo is among those sanctioned, as well as former national security advisers John Bolton and Robert O’Brien, and former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger.

“Some anti-China politicians in the United States…promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs, undermined China’s interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-U.S. relations,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. “China has decided to sanction 28 persons who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues.”

The sanctioned individuals and immediate family members will be banned from entering China, Hong Kong, and Macao, while any “companies and institutions associated with them are also restricted from doing business with China.”

U.S.-China relations soured considerably during the Trump administration, with the former president heading a tariff war with China. American officials also blamed China for failing to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan and causing the subsequent pandemic. Pottinger in particular has said there is a “growing body of evidence” that the coronavirus leaked from a virology lab in Wuhan.

Earlier this year, China also banned U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas), over their criticism of China’s treatment of its Uyghur citizens.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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