China said it has decided to impose sanctions on U.S. lawmakers, starting Monday, in retaliation for a recent move to penalize 11 senior Chinese officials for curtailing freedoms in Hong Kong.
The United States "grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and seriously violated international law," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Zhao said the targets of the sanctions are 11 U.S. citizens, including senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, as well as Representative Chris Smith. But, he did not elaborate on the details of the penalties. The three lawmakers are all Republicans and critics of China.
On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other officials in connection with the implementation of a national security law to crack down on what Beijing views as subversive activity in its semiautonomous territory.
Last month, China also announced sanctions against Rubio, Cruz, Smith and other U.S. officials after Washington levied penalties on senior Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against Muslim Uyghurs in the far-western Xinjiang region.
Hong Kong has become a source of tension in U.S.-China relations, particularly since Beijing pushed ahead to enact the national security legislation in the territory in late June.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has seen the enforcement as a betrayal of China's promise to allow Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.