The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam and 10 other senior officials from Hong Kong and mainland China.
Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin said that sanctions are aimed at those that undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Mnuchin added: “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.”
A few weeks ago, China imposed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong. Critics say the law threatens freedom in Hong Kong.
Tensions between China and the US continue to escalate-only a few hours ago, the Trump administration began banning US transactions with Chinese owners of WeChat and TikTok apps.
Those sanctioned include the Hong Kong Police Commissioner and several political secretaries.
- Introduction: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
The U.S. Treasury Department directly accused Ms. Lin of “implementing Beijing’s policy of suppressing freedom and democratic processes.”
The U.S. Treasury Department added in a statement: “In 2019, Mr. Lin promoted the update of Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements to allow extradition to the mainland, triggering a series of large-scale opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong Security Law
The United States strongly criticizes Hong Kong’s national security laws, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it “Orwellian actions” and “an infringement of the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.”
China has defended the controversial law to stop foreign interference in Hong Kong and the frequent violent democratic protests that occurred last year.
In announcing the sanctions on Friday, Mr. Pompeo said: “The Chinese Communist Party has made it clear that Hong Kong will no longer enjoy the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself has promised to the people of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom for 50 years.
“President Trump has made it clear that the United States will therefore regard Hong Kong as’one country, one system’ and will take action against individuals who undermine the freedom of the people of Hong Kong.”
The 11 sanctioned officials will seize all US property and freeze financial assets.
Ms. Lin had previously sniffed at the sanctions proposal and said last month: “I don’t have any assets in the United States and I don’t want to move to the United States.”
She told reporters that if the US approves her, she will “just smile.”
The latest sanctions were authorized by an executive order signed by Trump in July, which was designed to punish China’s role in Hong Kong affairs.
What else happened in US-China relations?
In recent months, tensions between China and the United States have increased at an accelerated rate.
The White House accused China of lying about the origin of the coronavirus that emerged from China at the end of last year. Use social media applications to monitor the behavior of Americans; “stealing” intellectual property and hiding wanted criminals in the Chinese Embassy in the United States-just to name a few.
Due to increased tensions, the two countries ordered each other’s consulates in major cities to close.
The United States also pressured its partners in the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, for national security reasons to ban China’s Huawei 5G telecommunications system.
After the United States imposed new restrictions on Chinese media linked to the Chinese Communist government, China has expelled reporters from major American newspapers.
- U.S. sanctions on China’s “abuse” of Xinjiang
Earlier this month, China issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists, including American citizens.
China’s push into the South China Sea also shocked its neighbors and the United States, which increased the pace of naval patrols into the sea to counter China’s expansion.
Limited impact, but highly symbolic
Feng Zhaoyin’s analysis, BBC News Chinese, Washington
The US sanctions against officials in mainland China and Hong Kong have lasted for several weeks.
If these Hong Kong officials have no economic interests in the United States, and no travel plans to the United States, their actual personal impact may be limited.
Carrie Lam (Carrie Lam) said recently that she is not afraid of sanctions.
But this is a highly symbolic move, because it is Washington’s latest move to condemn Beijing for reducing Hong Kong’s free and democratic system. The former British colonies have become the focus of disputes between China and the United States.
The two largest economies in the world seem to be experiencing a painful “divorce”, and the US general elections will be held in the following three months.
What did Washington get from it? The Trump administration has adopted a tough attitude towards Beijing and tried to gather voters, while the Chinese hawks in the White House aim to correct the progress of bilateral relations. They believe that China has gained more in bilateral relations than the United States.
Who are the sanctioned officials?
In addition to Ms. Lin, the United States also imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Police Commissioner Chris Tang and his predecessor Stephen Lo, who led the police force until 2019.
“under [Mr Lo’s] The leadership has arrested more than 4,000 demonstrators and injured 1,600 in the conflict. “The U.S. Treasury Department said.
Hong Kong’s Secretary of Justice, Priscilla Cheng, and Secretary for Security, Li Zongsheng, were also sanctioned.