A spokesperson for China's top legislature on Thursday strongly condemned the expanded sanctions announced by the U.S. Department of State on Chinese officials.
The U.S. move, made in response to a decision of the National People's Congress (NPC) on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), is a gross interference in China's internal affairs, and is extremely "overbearing and despicable," said the spokesperson for the NPC Standing Committee.
The NPC firmly opposes and strongly condemns the sanctions, the spokesperson said in a statement.
As the highest state organ of power, the NPC has the power and responsibility to make the decision at the constitutional level to improve the electoral system of the HKSAR, said the spokesperson.
The purpose of revising and improving the electoral system of the HKSAR is to remove the existing institutional deficiencies and risks so as to provide a sound institutional guarantee for fully and faithfully implementing "one country, two systems," and fully implementing the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," the spokesperson noted.
Stressing that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no foreign interference, the spokesperson said the NPC will, as always, perform its legally prescribed duties and unswervingly safeguard China's sovereignty, security, and development interests in accordance with the law.
The NPC will uphold the constitutional order in Hong Kong as stipulated in China's Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law, and provide legal guarantees for cracking down on "Hong Kong independence" forces, ensuring "patriots administering Hong Kong" and maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, according to the spokesperson.