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US sanctions Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam, 10 others over China’s Hong Kong takeover laws

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam addresses a news conference in Hong Kong on May 22, 2020. (Li Gang/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)
August 07, 2020

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday announced new sanctions against Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 other Chinese officials  who played roles in implementing Chinese national security legislation over the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.

Along with Lam, Pompeo announced sanctions against Chris Tang, Stephen Lo, John Lee Ka-chiu, Teresa Cheng, Erick Tsang, Xia Baolong, Zhang Xiaoming, Luo Huining, Zheng Yanxiong, and Eric Chan. According to an accompanying U.S. Treasury Department press release, the U.S. will freeze any assets those 11 individuals hold in the U.S.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” the Treasury Department statement read. “Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person.”

The new sanctions come after President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes sanctions against China for the new Hong Kong security laws.

Here’s Pompeo’s full statement announcing the latest sanctions:

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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. President Trump has made clear that the United States will therefore treat Hong Kong as “one country, one system,” and take action against individuals who have crushed the Hong Kong people’s freedoms.

Today, the United States designates 11 individuals pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13936. These individuals include Carrie Lam, Teresa Cheng, Erick Tsang, Zheng Yanxiong, Eric Chan, John Lee Ka-chiu, and Chris Tang, for their roles in coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of, or having been responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. This law, purportedly enacted to “safeguard” the security of Hong Kong, is in fact a tool of CCP repression.

This action includes designations of Xia Baolong, Zhang Xiaoming, and Luo Huining for being leaders or officials of an entity engaged in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong. Stephen Lo was also designated for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in censorship or other activities with respect to Hong Kong that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Hong Kong, or that limit access to free and independent print, online or broadcast media.

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.