A day after the United States imposed sanctions on 11 top officials from China and Hong Kong, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, explicitly accusing them of eroding the autonomy of the former British colony in East Asia by enforcing the sweeping National Security Legislation, Hong Kong’s leader and China’s top representative in the city took pot shots at Washington.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam took to Facebook to say that the U.S. got her address wrong, listing the official address of her chief deputy instead. “By the way, my entry visa to the U.S. is valid until 2026. Since I have no desire to visit this country, it looks like I can take the initiative to cancel it,” Lam was quoted as saying by AP.
Luo Huining, the director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, said, “I don’t have a penny of assets abroad. Isn’t it in vain to impose ‘sanctions’? Of course, I can also send 100 U.S. dollars to Mr. Trump for freezing,” he said in a statement on the office’s website, reported AP.
The recent sanctions are a new addition to US President Donald Trump’s campaign against China as tensions escalate between the two countries. Hong Kong has long enjoyed civil liberties not seen in mainland China because it is governed under a so-called “one country, two systems” principle in place since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
However, Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong at the end of June, following months of anti-government protests last year. The new law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or what it sees as foreign intervention in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.
The US has heavily criticised the legislation, claiming that it poses a threat to the freedoms enjoyed by the residents of Hong Kong for over two decades. “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday.
Here is all you need to know about the US sanctions on Hong Kong:
We will not stand by while people of HK suffer oppression, says Pompeo
Soon after the US Treasury announced the sanctions on a number of pro-China officials from Hong Kong and Beijing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would not stand by and watch as Hong Kong’s residents continue to suffer at the hands of the “Chinese Communist Party and its enablers”.
“Today, the US is designating 11 individuals responsible for the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. We will not stand by while the people of Hong Kong suffer brutal oppression at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party or its enablers,” Pompeo tweeted on Friday.
Current and former HK police commissioners, top Beijing official among those sanctioned
Apart from Carrie Lam, several high-profile Hong Kong officials, including, Chris Tang and Stephen Lo — the current and former commissioners of the city’s police force — were sanctioned by the US. The senior-most Chinese official in Hong Kong, Luo Huining too, was also among those named in the US Treasuries’ order Friday.
According to an AP report, the remaining officials named in the order are: HKSAR Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-Chiu, HKSAR Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Xia Baolong, and Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Xiaoming.
Sanctions are blatant, barbaric interference in China affairs, says HK govt
The Hong Kong government alleged that the US’ recent sanctions represented a “blatant and barbaric” interference in China’s affairs. “We will not be intimidated,” a government spokesperson said, according to a Reuters report.
Meanwhile, China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong alleged that the sanctions exposed the “unscrupulous intentions” of the US to support the “anti-China chaos” in Hong Kong. Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong called the US order “clowning actions”.
“Intimidation and threats cannot frighten the Chinese people,” the Liaison Office’s statement read.
Hours before sanctions, Trump bans Chinese-owned WeChat, Byte Dance
Hours before the sanctions were announced, President Trump signed an executive order banning all US transactions with Chinese-owned companies WeChat and Byte Dance, claiming that they posed a threat to national security.
“The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China…continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump said, according to a Bloomberg report.
“Additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency,” he added.
(With inputs from AP/Bloomberg)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines