US slaps sanctions on Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, 10 other officials

US slaps sanctions on Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam, 10 other officials

By: AP |

Published: August 8, 2020 12:14:01 am

Hong Kong braces for downtown protests on China-backed laws Hong Kong’s pro-China leader Carrie Lam.

The US on Friday imposed sanctions on 11 individuals, including Hong Kong’s pro-China leader Carrie Lam, for erosion of the former British colony’s autonomy and restricting freedom of expression of its citizens.

Besides Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Lam, others prominent include Chris Tang, Commissioner of Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and Stephen Lo, Former Commissioner of HKPF.

“Today, the US is designating 11 individuals responsible for the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. We will not stand by while the people of Hong Kong suffer brutal oppression at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party or its enablers,” Pompeo said in a tweet soon after the Department of Treasury issued the order.

“Today’s actions send a clear message that the Hong Kong authorities’ actions are unacceptable and in contravention of the PRC’s commitments under ‘one country, two systems’ and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty,” he said.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. It has observed a “one country, two systems” policy since Britain returned sovereignty to China on July 1, 1997, which has allowed it certain freedoms the rest of China does not have.

China imposed the sweeping national security law on Hong Kong in June to take full control of the former British colony which since last year was in turmoil with massive protests by millions of locals opposing Beijing’s growing controls on the city of over seven million

Lam had strongly endorsed the new security law.

Among others designated with sanctions are John Lee Ka-chiu, HKSAR Secretary for Security; Teresa Cheng, HKSAR Secretary for Justice; Erick Tsang, HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs; Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council; Zhang Xiaoming, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council; and Luo Huining, Director of the Hong Kong Liaison Office.

Zheng Yanxiong, Director, Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong; and Eric Chan, Secretary General, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR have also been slapped with sanctions.

These individuals, Pompeo said, have been slapped with sanctions for their roles in coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of, or having been responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong.

This law, purportedly enacted to “safeguard” the security of Hong Kong, is in fact a tool of Chinese Communist Party’s repression, he said.

“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.

The recent imposition of draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong has not only undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy, it has also infringed on the rights of people in Hong Kong, allowing mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in the region, mandating “national security education” in Hong Kong schools, undermining the rule of law, and setting the groundwork for censorship of any individuals or outlets that are deemed unfriendly to China, Mnuchin said.

Pompeo said that 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’s people and the UK for 50 years.

“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,” he said.

Individuals like Xia Baolong, Zhang Xiaoming, and Luo Huining are being designated for being leaders or officials of an entity engaged in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.

Stephen Lo was also designated for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to Hong Kong that prohibit, limit, or penalise the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Hong Kong, or that limit access to free and independent print, online or broadcast media, Pompeo said.

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