China and HK could face fresh US sanctions over ousting of lawmakers

Hong Kong and China could face fresh US sanctions over ousting of lawmakers
Pro-democracy lawmaker Cheuk Ting Lam hangs banners during a session of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Thursday. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Chinese and Hong Kong officials could face further sanctions from the US over a new law that disqualified four pro-democracy legislators as “unpatriotic” and prompted a mass resignation by the pro-democracy caucus.

On Wednesday, the measure was passed by China’s highest legislative body. It bars anyone from Hong Kong’s legislative council who refuses to recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong, supports independence, opposes the national security law, seeks foreign forces to interfere in the affairs of the region” or seeks help from “foreign countries or commits “other acts that endanger national security”.

Hong Kong had to be “governed by patriots,” the official statements said.

The measure was immediately used to disqualify four legislators who had been banned from contesting the next election, because they promised to block government legislation if they won a majority. Fellow pro-democracy legislators announced they would formally resign in protest. The election controversially postponed until next year.

Robert O’Brien, the US national security advisor, accused China of having “flagrantly violated” its international commitments and threatened further sanctions on “those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom”.

O’Brien said one country, two systems’ is now merely a fig leaf covering for the Chinese Communist Party’s expanding one-party dictatorship in Hong Kong.”

Democrat senator, Jeff Merkley and US Republican senator, Marco Rubio, both members of the US Senate committee on foreign relations, said democracy was “gasping for air” in Hong Kong and “there will be consequences”.

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