US Sanctions top Hong Kong officials, including from the mainland, for role under repressive security law

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam. (Photo courtesy: CNBC)

(, Aug08’20) – The United States on Aug 7 imposed economic sanctions on 11 current and former Chinese officials, including Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, over their role in the implementation of a repressive national security law in the special administrative region.

Lam was singled out by the US Treasury Department for “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes,” citing her role last year in attempting to pass an extradition law and, more recently, her involvement in “developing, adopting or implementing” the national security law.

The security law, enacted by China in June, criminalises a broad range of behaviours under the four categories of secession, terrorism, subversion and collusion with a foreign power.

Under the sanctions, US-based assets of individuals or entities are blocked and Americans and businesses are generally prohibited from dealing with them.

The US sanctions were imposed under authority set out by an executive order that US President Donald Trump signed last month, laying out a series of measures that sought to punish China for the national security law.

Apart from Lam, those brought under sanctions included Hong Kong’s secretaries of justice and security, the city’s current and former police chiefs, and the senior leadership in Beijing’s liaison office to Hong Kong.

Retired police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung was cited for his leadership of the force during last year’s pro-democracy protests, while his successor, Chris Tang Ping-keung, was included “for coercing, arresting, detaining or imprisoning individuals under the authority of the National Security Law”.

Mainland officials targeted by the sanctions included Luo Huining, Beijing’s top envoy to Hong Kong; Xia Baolong and Zhang Xiaoming, the director and deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office; and Zheng Yanxiong, the inaugural director of Beijing’s new agency charged with overseeing national security issues in Hong Kong.

All of them were designated as officials in a government whose “actions or policies” threatened “the peace, security, stability or autonomy of Hong Kong”.

“The Chinese Communist Party has made clear that Hong Kong will never again enjoy the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself promised to the Hong Kong people and the United Kingdom for 50 years,” the Aug 7 quoted US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo as saying in a statement.

The report quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying the US stood with the people of Hong Kong and would use its tools and authorities “to target those undermining their autonomy”.


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