- “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy.”
- In reaction to the move, Carrie Lam described the US sanctions as “ridiculous.”
- The director of Beijing’s liaison office in the city, Luo Huining, laughed off the fact that his name is on the sanctions list, and mocked US President Donald Trump.
The US has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on the grounds that she is “undermining the autonomy” of Hong Kong. The US Treasury Department made an announcement on Friday to the effect that any assets belonging to Lam, as well as ten other officials, would henceforth be frozen.
The move by the US also applies to Hong Kong Police Chief Chris Tang and Security Minister John Lee. The Chief Executive was sanctioned because she is ”directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes,” a statement by the US treasury department read.
“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 Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
In reaction to the move, Carrie Lam described the US sanctions as “ridiculous.” In a scathing statement issued by the Hong Kong administration, Lam was quoted as saying, “we will not be intimidated.”
“Such a deplorable move is no less than state-sanctioned doxxing that is a serious breach of privacy and personal safety. We reserve the right to take any necessary legal action,” the statement read. Lam also condemned the US for punishing senior Hong Kong government officials, due to their role in implementing the new National Security Law.
The director of Beijing’s liaison office in the city, Luo Huining, laughed off the fact that his name is on the sanctions list, and mocked US President Donald Trump. “Isn’t such a ‘sanction’ in vain as I don’t have any assets abroad? Of course, I can also send $100 to Mr Trump for freezing.”
Lam announced last week that the parliamentary election planned for September in the Chinese Special Administrative Region would be postponed by a year. She justified the postponement citing the risk posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Critics, however, see the postponement of the election as an attempt to prevent embarrassment, as there is great dissatisfaction with the government camp loyal to Beijing and the controversial new National Security Law.
China came under heavy criticism for its controversial new law, which was passed at the end of June. It is directed against activities that China sees as subversive, separatist or terrorist. It also aims at punishing “secret agreements” with forces abroad.
It is the most extensive encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy to date, and gives China’s state security extensive powers. Hong Kong’s democratic opposition believes the law is aimed at unfairly targeting them.
Many experts opine that the controversial Hong Kong security law marked the end of the “one country, two systems” principle that has been in place since Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. It is also seen as a violation of China’s international legal obligations in returning Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam has been the head of government in Hong Kong since 2017. The 63-year-old is accused by critics as being a mere puppet of Beijing.