The United States Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions Friday on 11 Hong Kong and mainland China officials over their involvement in undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and curtailing citizens’ freedom of expression and assembly through the implementation of the National Security Law.
Among those sanctioned is Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, characterized by the Treasury as “directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.” The sanctioned individuals will have their assets in the United States frozen, and any financial transactions with them are henceforth criminalized.
The sanctions were imposed under President Trump’s Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization issued in July.
Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin declared, “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 State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement, “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.”
US Consulate General Hong Kong also released a statement in which it said, “We once again call on Beijing to respect the commitment it made to the people of Hong Kong, and to the international community, in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”
The latest sanctions closely followed the executive order banning US transactions with the Chinese companies that own the apps WeChat and TikTok. The US has already imposed sanctions on Chinese Communist Party members and companies over alleged human rights abuses after issuing the President’s Executive Order.
Activists have been banned from seeking office, and individuals have been arrested over their social media posts since the national security law came into effect on June 30.