Hong Kong’s government on Saturday described a new round of U.S. sanctions against six Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials as “shameful and insane.”
The United States announced the latest sanctions on Friday, accusing Hong Kong and some Chinese officials of involvement in the Jan. 6 series of arrests of 53 pro-democracy activists under new national security law.
The state department said the sanctions barred Americans from dealing with the targeted individuals.
It stated that it was in response to Hong Kong’s arrest of the people in “an appalling crackdown on pro-democracy politicians and activists who were trying to advance fair and open primary elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council”.
The arrests marked the latest escalation in the effort by China — enabled by the pro-Beijing government in Hong Kong to snuff out the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony, part of Beijing’s effort to erode its semi-autonomous status.
Among those sanctioned by the U.S. government was the director of the Chinese central government’s national security office in Hong Kong and Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee
Hitting back, the Hong Kong government called the sanctions “insane and shameful.”
“I and my colleagues are discharging an honourable duty to prevent, stop and punish in accordance with the law acts and activities endangering national security.
”We will not be intimidated,” Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam said.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions were for “coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of, or in developing, adopting, or implementing” the law.
Pompeo called for the immediate release of individuals and condemned the People’s Republic of China for “actions that erode Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes.”