The United States on Monday, December 7, imposed sanctions on 14 senior Chinese officials as it vowed there would be a price to pay for Beijing’s growing clampdown in Hong Kong.
President Donald Trump’s administration said it was freezing any US assets and barring travel to the United States of 14 vice chairs of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which spearheaded a tough new security law in the city.
The latest sanctions “underscore that the United States will continue to work with our allies and partners to hold Beijing accountable for undermining Hong Kong’s promised autonomy,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“The United States again urges Beijing to abide by its international commitments and to heed the voices of many countries, which have condemned its actions.”
The United States has already slapped sanctions on Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam.
While Lam has sought to play down the effect of sanctions, she acknowledged in a recent interview that she relies on “piles of cash” as she cannot maintain a bank account due to the pressure from the US Treasury Department, which has broad influence over dollar-denominated transactions.
China’s rubber-stamp parliament pushed through the draconian new security law in June despite international warnings that it was violating a promise to allow a separate system in Hong Kong made before Britain handed over its colony in 1997.
Through the security law, China has largely succeeded in stamping out protests that rocked Hong Kong last year.
On Monday, Hong Kong police cited the law to arrest 3 people who last month chanted slogans at a university campus.
Also in November, pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse from the Legislative Council after the disqualification of 4 of their colleagues.
Pompeo said that China’s “unrelenting assault” has “effectively neutered the ability of the people of Hong Kong to choose their elected representatives.” – Rappler.com