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US Slaps Sanctions on Chinese Officials Over 'Coercive Influence Activities'

Sputnik News

Tim Korso. Sputnik International
18:12 GMT 04.12.2020(updated 18:50 GMT 04.12.2020)

Washington has repeatedly accused Beijing of allegedly luring neighbouring states into its sphere of influence with lucrative economic offers or business deals in order to influence their domestic and foreign policies. China, however, denies being involved in "malign" activities in regards to its neighbours.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the US will be imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials at the United Front Work Department, whom he accused of engaging in "malign activities" purportedly targeting those who oppose Beijing's policies.

Pompeo did not specify who from the organisation's ranks will be sanctioned, or whether its entire staff will be banned from entering the US.

The United Front Work Department is responsible for the Chinese Communist Party's contacts with groups and communities not directly related to the CCP, such as Chinese overseas communities, as well as commercial and scholar groups that Beijing is interested in cooperating with. However, critics claim that the UFWD is the CCP's tool for recruiting useful allies and dividing its opponents.

The new round of sanctions comes a day after the US government issued new visa restrictions for CCP members and their families, imposing limits on how long they can stay in the country. The Department of State cited the party's "malign influence" and alleged attempts to "influence Americans through propaganda, economic coercion, and other nefarious activities" as a reason for the restrictions. Washington has repeatedly accused China of suppressing freedoms and violating human rights in regards to the protests in Hong Kong and alleged prison camps in Xinjiang.

© Sputnik

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