United States imposed sanctions on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and 10 other top officials from Hong Kong and mainland China.
The sanctions by US Treasury target those undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
These new sanctions comes weeks after China enacted the controversial national security law on Hong Kong that threatens freedom.
The move further escalates tensions between the two giant economies.
US Treasury directly accused Ms Lam of “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes”.
“In 2019, Lam pushed for an update to Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements to allow for extradition to the mainland, setting off a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong,” the US Treasury added in a statement.
Hong Kong government while responding to the sanctions said, “blatant and barbaric interference in the internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China, using Hong Kong as a pawn”.
The 11 sanctioned officials will have all property in the US seized and financial assets frozen.
National Security Law:
The law came into force on 30th June, night 11pm with four categories of offences – secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security.
The punishment varies between a life to a three year imprisonment.
‘Anti-nationals’ can be extradited to mainland China from Hong Kong. The law also subverts the Hong Kong judiciary as only Beijing appointed judges can hear such matters.
The law is applicable to entire China including Hong Kong. Even foreign nationals could face action under this law if they are found to be anti-Beijing.