by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2020
The Trump administration on Friday sanctioned several of Hong Kong’s top officials, including China-appointed chief executive Carrie Lam.
Along with Lam, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Luo Huining, director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong; Xia Baolong and Zhang Xiaoming, the head and deputy head of Chinese central government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office; and police commissioner Chris Tang.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement accompanying Friday’s action.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the officials were selected “for being leaders or officials of an entity engaged in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.”
Friday’s action freezes any assets the officials have within U.S. jurisdiction and prevent their travel to the U.S.
The Treasury Department said the sanctions target current and former officials who it said are responsible for implementing the Chinese Communist Party’s decision to assert greater control over the former British colony.
Related: Beijing drops hammer on Hong Kong: ‘I can’t sleep and can’t eat, my heart is tired’, Oct. 6, 2019
“The moves are likely to exacerbate diplomatic tensions between the world’s two largest economies. By targeting Lam and other senior officials, they are a further blow to Hong Kong’s standing as a global financial center,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
The Trump administration pointed to Beijing’s Hong Kong crackdown “as representing a much broader threat to U.S. security and democratic and free-market principles globally,” the Journal noted. “Beside Treasury sanctions, the Commerce Department has expanded its own blacklist of Chinese companies, the Justice Department has filed charges against alleged Beijing-directed hackers and the Department of State forced Beijing to shut down its Houston consulate over espionage charges.”
In an interview with a local television station last month, Lam said she had no fear of being blacklisted by U.S. authorities.
“I have no assets in the U.S., and I don’t particularly like going to the U.S.,” Lam told Hong Kong Open TV, according to the South China Morning Post. “If they won’t grant me a visa, then I will just not go there.”
Lam has continued to push the communist agenda over the past 12 months.
After the implementation of the sweeping national security law, Lam said she was confident “social unrest, which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year, will be eased and stability will be restored, thereby enabling Hong Kong to start anew.”