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Hong Kong, Chinese officials call US sanctions 'despicable'

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick, DPA on

Published in News & Features

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's government on Saturday called U.S.-imposed sanctions against senior officials responsible for a recent crackdown on political opponents "shameless and despicable."

The United States on Friday sanctioned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 other officials, in response to the imposition of a Chinese national security law on the territory.

In language closely resembling statements issued by Beijing, a government spokesman accused the U.S. of "double standards and hypocrisy" over the "so-called 'sanctions'" and described the disclosure of top officials' information as "deplorable."

According to the statement, the city's government "will fully support the Central Government to adopt counter-measures" aimed at the U.S.

As well as Lam, police chief Chris Tang, former police chief Stephen Lo, justice secretary Teresa Cheng and newly appointed national security chief Eric Chan were among the local officials singled out by the sanctions introduced on Friday.

Luo Huining and Zhang Xiaoming, mainland officials responsible for Hong Kong affairs, were also listed.

US senator Marco Rubio, author of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, said the individuals "have orchestrated the erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy while spearheading a campaign of repression that violates Hong Kong's commitments to protect universally recognized human rights."

The sanctions freeze any of their assets in the U.S. and put severe restrictions on U.S. people doing business with them.

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, called the sanctions "beyond all reason" on Saturday and warned that U.S. companies in the region would ultimately suffer.

 

In a statement issued on Saturday, director of Beijing's liaison office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, said he "resolutely opposed and strongly condemned the so-called sanctions," adding that they were also ineffectual since he has no U.S. assets. He offered to send the U.S. $100 to freeze.

At a press briefing last month, Lam said she would "just laugh it off" if the Trump administration sanctioned her, since she does not have any assets in the country nor plans to move there.

The sanctions were introduced in reaction to Beijing's imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong in late June, and for postponing for one year elections in which the government was expected to fare poorly. Pro-democracy candidates won a landslide victory in local-level elections last November.

The law introduces tough new prison terms for acts of subversion, succession, and colluding with foreigners.

It also establishes a parallel legal structure to try such cases through specially appointed police units, prosecutors and hand-picked judges, shielded from public or media scrutiny.

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