China on Tuesday said it would impose reciprocal measures against unnamed American officials and their family members who were behind a legislation passed by the US Congress on Tibet, asserting that it brooks no interference in its internal affairs.
The US Congress has approved a $900-billion COVID-19 relief package late on Monday, along with $1.4 trillion of regular government funding, that also includes some acts regarding Tibet and Taiwan, as well as clauses relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The act directs the US government to issue economic and visa sanctions against any Chinese official who interferes with the Dalai Lama's succession.
The bill also prohibits China from establishing any new consulates in the US until Washington is granted its own diplomatic outpost in Tibet, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Reacting angrily to the new legislation on Tibet, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on US President Donald Trump not to sign it into law.
"Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong affairs bear on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are purely China's internal affairs that brook no foreign interference," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing while responding to questions on the new US legislation.
"China has taken reciprocal counter measures against the US individuals and their family members who are primarily responsible for recent interference in China''s internal affairs," Mr Wang said. He, however, did not specify who or how many people were affected.
He said the Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests.
"We urge the US side to stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and not to sign into law or implement negative content and clauses in relation to China in relevant acts, so as not to further harm bilateral cooperation and the overall situation of China-US relations," Mr Wang said.
The White House has indicated that President Trump will sign the bill into law, the Post report said.
According to overseas Tibetan groups, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 (TPSA) passed by the US Congress makes it official United States policy that decisions regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama are exclusively within the authority of the current Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and the Tibetan people.
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's 85-year-old exiled spiritual leader, has been demanding meaningful autonomy for Tibetans.
China views the 14th Dalai Lama as a "separatist" working to split Tibet from China.
The Trump administration has placed a series of sanctions, visa bans and financial restrictions on Chinese government officials and Communist Party members this year on a host of issues as the relations between the two countries strained over issues of human rights, the coronavirus and trade.
This year, visa restrictions and financial sanctions were applied to CCP officials "involved in the horrific abuses taking place in Xinjiang, restrictions on access to Tibet, and the destruction of Hong Kong's promised autonomy," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.
"Today's action creates additional restrictions applicable to all CCP (Chinese Communist Party) officials engaged in such repressive activities, no matter their location," he said.
The China-US relations reached the worst phase this year with sharpening disputes between the two countries over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology, Taiwan and a host of other issues.