Daily US Times: The United States Treasury has imposed sanctions on Carrie Lam, Hong Kong chief executive, and 10 other top officials from Hong Kong and mainland China.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions were used to target those undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong,” he added.
The move comes weeks after Beijing imposed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong, which critics say threatened the territory’s freedoms.
US-China tensions continue to escalate in recent months. Just in the same day, Trump administration moved to ban US transactions with the Chinese owners of the TikTok and WeChat apps..
Hong Kong’s police commissioner and several political secretaries are among those sanctioned.
The US Treasury directly accused Hong Kong chief executive Ms. Lam of “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes”.
The US Treasury added in a statement: “In 2019, Lam pushed for an update to Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements to allow for extradition to the mainland, setting off a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong.”
The US has strongly criticised Hong Kong’s national security law, with Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, calling it an “Orwellian move” and an assault “on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong”.
China has defended the controversial law as necessary to stop often violent pro-democracy protests that took place last year and foreign interference in Hong Kong.
Mr Pompeo said while announcing the sanctions on Friday: “The Chinese Communist Party has made clear that Hong Kong will never again enjoy the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself promised to the Hong Kong people and the United Kingdom for 50 years.
“President Trump has made clear that the United States will therefore treat Hong Kong as ‘one country, one system’ and take action against individuals who have crushed the Hong Kong people’s freedoms.”
The 11 sanctioned officials will have financial assets frozen and all property in the US seized
“I do not have any assets in the United States nor do I long for moving to the United States,” Ms Lam has said last month, scoffed at the suggestion of sanctions.
Carrie Lam told reporters she would “just laugh it off” if the US sanctioned her.
The latest sanctions were authorised by an executive order Mr Trump signed in July aimed at punished Beijing for its handling of Hong Kong’s affairs.
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