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Beijing Slams US for Sanctioning Chinese Official for Abuses

U.S. President Donald Trump China's President Xi Jinping arrive for the state dinner with the first ladies at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017.

China said Friday that it strongly opposes the Trump administration's decision to sanction a former Beijing police official for his role in the death of a human rights campaigner.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing that the sanctions against Gao Yan amounted to Washington interfering in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty.

She said China urges the U.S. to "stop serving as a so-called judge of human rights,'' and to "correct erroneous acts'' to avoid damaging bilateral exchanges.

The U.S. Treasury Department this week slapped sanctions on 52 people and entities, including Gao, under the Global Magnitsky Act. The 2016 law is designed to punish human rights violations and corruption around the world.

Gao oversaw a Beijing district police branch in 2014 that held veteran human rights activist Cao Shunli. Cao was reportedly denied medical care while in detention and died after six months in captivity.

Her supporters said she requested to seek treatment for tuberculosis and a liver ailment but was repeatedly denied medical parole until several days before she fell into a coma. Her subsequent death sparked an outcry.

Gao, 54, is currently president of the Beijing Police College.

Other sanctioned individuals include the Myanmar general who oversaw military operations and abuse against Rohingya civilians, the commander of a Ukrainian police unit and the son of Russia's prosecutor general, who is suspected of corruption.

Under the sanctions, the newly listed individuals' assets in the United States will be frozen and they will not be allowed to do business with U.S. banks.