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Hong Kong, China officials slam US sanctions

August 8, 2020

Washington's sanctions have further deteriorated US-China ties, more than a month after Beijing imposed a controversial national security law on the city. The Hong Kong government has called the sanctions "barbaric."

Carrie Lam
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/V. Yu

Beijing's top representative in Hong Kong on Saturday said US sanctions on a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials were "clowning actions" that would not intimidate China. 

"The unscrupulous intentions of the US politicians to support the anti-China chaos in Hong Kong have been revealed, and their clowning actions are really ridiculous," Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong said in a statement.

"Intimidation and threats cannot frighten the Chinese people," they added.

The comments came in response to Friday's sanctions targeting 11 Communist Party officials in mainland China and their affiliates in Hong Kong, including the territory's Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the head of China's Liaison Office Luo Huining.

The US accused the officials of curtailing political freedoms in the Special Administrative Region and announced it would criminalize any US financial transactions with the sanctioned officials as well as freeze their US assets.

Separately, the Hong Kong government said the sanctions were "shameless and despicable" and represented "blatant and barbaric" interference in China's internal affairs. 

"We will not be intimidated," a government spokesman said.

Read more: China's actions risk Hong Kong's future as global financial center 

US using Hong Kong as 'pawn'

The move, which came after US President Donald Trump's administration forced Chinese consumer apps TikTok and WeChat to end all operations in the US, is Washington's toughest action yet on Hong Kong since Beijing imposed a controversial new security law on the territory.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said in a statement that Washington was using "Hong Kong as a pawn in its ploy to create troubles in China-US relationship."

Luo, the most senior mainland political official based in Hong Kong, said he welcomed the blacklisting.

Read more: Opinion: China is looking to challenge the US

"I have done what I should do for the country and for Hong Kong," he said. "I don't have a dime's worth in foreign assets."

Alongside Luo and Lam, the sanctions also target Hong Kong Police Commissioner Chris Tang and his predecessor Stephen Lo; John Lee, Hong Kong's secretary of security; and Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng.

Xia Baolong, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, was also on the list.

mvb/stb (Reuters, AFP, dpa)