US Imposes Sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Other Officials Over Draconian National Security Law
Signalling further escalation in its confrontation with China, U.S on Friday (Aug 8) announced that it has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam and leading officials of Chinese Communist Party for their involvement in stifling political freedoms in Hong Kong.
The move is likely to deliver a serious blow to Hong Kong’s pre-eminent position as a global financial hub.
The U.S Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on 11 individuals including Lam for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong.
Under the sanctions imposed by the U.S, the assets that individuals hold within U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen and their travel to the U.S will also be prevented.
According to the Trump Administration, Lam was directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes including pushing for an update to Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements to allow for extradition to the mainland, setting off a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong.
“The recent imposition of draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong has not only undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy, it has also infringed on the rights of people in Hong Kong, allowing mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in the region, mandating “national security education” in Hong Kong schools, undermining the rule of law, and setting the groundwork for censorship of any individuals or outlets that are deemed unfriendly to China.” the Treasury department said in a statement.
“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 Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin.
In June this year, China passed a draconian national security law aimed at tightening Beijing’s control over Hong Kong. Beijing claimed that the newl security law is necessary to crack down on separatism, subversion, terrorism, and foreign intervention in Hong Kong.
On May 27, the United States declared that it no longer considers Hong Kong autonomous from China, a move that could result in loss of Hong Kong’s special trading status with the US and threaten its standing as an international financing hub.
On Thursday (Aug 6), a high-powered group of U.S. regulators said stock exchanges should set new rules that could trigger the delisting of Chinese companies unless China allows US regulators access to audited accounts.
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation in May that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on U.S. exchanges unless they follow standards for U.S. audits and regulations.
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