Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 17, 2021. [Photo: Foreign Ministry] The imposition of sanctions on Chinese citizens by the United States fully exposes Washington's sinister intention to interfere in China's internal affairs, disrupt Hong Kong and obstruct China's stability and development, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday. He made the remark after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced sanctions on 24 officials from the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in a statement published on Wednesday, ahead of the upcoming China-US high-level strategic dialogue. The 24 officials include 14 vice-chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. "We firmly oppose and condemn it," Zhao said, noting that China has taken necessary countermeasures. "China will take strong moves as appropriate to resolutely defend its national sovereignty, security and development interests in order to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and personnel," he said. The spokesman said that the US sanctions, based on the so-called Hong Kong Autonomy Act, severely breached international law and the basic norms governing international relations and interfered in China's internal affairs. Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affair, and no foreign country has the right to interfere in them, Zhao said. "We urge the US to immediately rectify its mistakes and stop interfering in China's Hong Kong affairs by any means," he said. The spokesman noted that the National People's Congress, as the country's top legislature, is exercising its responsibility and constitutional power by making the decision on improving the HKSAR's electoral system. "It is a major move that helps advance the principle of 'one country, two systems', and maintains the long-term stability of Hong Kong. It will provide a more solid institutional guarantee for the full implementation of 'patriots administering Hong Kong'," he added. Also on Wednesday, the Hong Kong government condemned the sanctions. A government spokesman said, "We are extremely disappointed that the current US administration, instead of rectifying the blatant mistake made by its predecessor, has chosen to pursue the same wrongful path of disregarding international norms and interfering in the Hong Kong SAR's affairs." "The Hong Kong SAR's high degree of autonomy is guaranteed under 'one country, two systems';but foreign entities have repeatedly ignored this fundamental principle," the spokesman said.