Trump Sanctions Hong Kong Leader, 10 Other Officials for Subverting City’s Freedoms

The Trump administration on Aug. 7 sanctioned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and 10 other Hong Kong and Chinese officials for undermining the city’s autonomy and freedoms.

Other than Lam, six other Hong Kong officials were sanctioned, including the current and preceding Hong Kong police chiefs, and the city’s security and justice secretaries. Four Chinese officials were also targeted, including the head of the Liaison Office, Beijing’s representative office in the city, and the head of a central government office for handling Hong Kong affairs in Beijing.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets the officials possess, and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.

The measures were imposed in response to Beijing’s implementation of a national security law for the city, which has led to heightened authoritarian control over the city, the Trump administration said.

“This law, purportedly enacted to ‘safeguard’ the security of Hong Kong, is in fact a tool of CCP [Chinese Communist Party] repression,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Friday statement.

In recent weeks, a raft of pro-democracy advocates has been charged for violating the new law, which critics have decried as an effort to clamp down on views critical of the Chinese regime.

Pompeo said that Lam and six members of her administration were sanctioned for their roles in developing and implementing the national security law, and also for “coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals” under the law.

He said the Chinese officials, who are the CCP’s top officials for enacting Hong Kong policies, were sanctioned for engaging in actions that “threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.”

Among those sanctioned are Zheng Yanxiong, Beijing’s appointee to head a new national security bureau in the city. The bureau was set up under the new law, and directly answers to Beijing. The bureau is exempt from the Hong Kong government’s jurisdiction and exercises oversight on enforcing the law.

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

The sanctions were implemented to fulfill an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on July 16, which ended Hong Kong’s special status with the United States, after the administration deemed the territory no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China. On that day, Trump also signed into law a bill that would sanction officials and banks involved in crushing the city’s freedoms.

The Trump administration has recently stepped up its actions countering Beijing’s threats. In July, the United States sanctioned several Chinese Communist Party officials for their role in human rights abuses in the region of Xinjiang. On Aug. 7, Trump issued executive orders to bar U.S. firms from doing business with the Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat, ByteDance and Tencent Holdings respectively.

From The Epoch Times