Thursday, January 28, 2021

US plans to sanction more Chinese officials in Hong Kong: report | China

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Action must be taken against at least a dozen officials following the disqualification of Hong Kong lawmakers, according to Reuters.

The United States is preparing to impose sanctions on at least a dozen Chinese officials for their alleged role in Beijing’s disqualification of opposition politicians in Hong Kong, Reuters news agency reported on Monday, citing three sources. , including an American official familiar with the subject. .

The move, which could come as early as Monday, will go against officials of the Communist Party of China (CCP) as President Donald Trump’s administration maintains pressure on Beijing during its final weeks in power. President-elect Joe Biden takes over on January 20.

The State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Up to 14 people, including officials from the Chinese parliament or the National People’s Congress and members of the CCP, would likely be affected by measures such as assets freezes and financial sanctions, two sources said.

The US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said several people would be punished. A person familiar with the matter said the group would likely include officials from Hong Kong as well as the mainland. The sources did not provide the names or positions of those targeted by the sanctions. Two sources have warned that an announcement could still be delayed until later in the week.

Pro-democracy lawmakers announced they would resign en masse after the government disqualified four of their colleagues, claiming they posed a threat to national security [Anthony Wallace/AFP]

The Hong Kong government last month excluded four opposition members of his legislature after the Chinese parliament gave municipal authorities new powers to curb dissent. The move sparked the massive resignation of pro-democracy opposition lawmakers in Chinese-controlled territory.

The move also sparked new alarm among Western democracies.

the Five eyes An intelligence exchange group – made up of Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and the United States – said last month that the move appeared to be part of a campaign to silence the critics and called on Beijing to reverse the trend.

Autonomy questioned

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in November that the expulsion showed the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, in which Hong Kong’s autonomy had been promised since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, was now “just a leaf figure” and promised further American action.

In October, the US State Department warned international financial institutions doing business with those found responsible for China’s crackdown in the Asian financial hub that they could soon face stiff penalties.

Washington has already imposed sanctions on Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam, the current head of the territory and former police chiefs and other senior officials in August for what he said was their role in restricting freedoms in a crackdown on the territory’s pro-democracy movement.

In November, the State Department and the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on four other Chinese government and security officials in Hong Kong, preventing them from traveling to the United States and freezing all US-related assets. United that they could hold.

Beijing has previously condemned US sanctions linked to Hong Kong, calling the measures interference in China’s internal affairs.

Hong Kong is expected to be one of Biden’s toughest challenges with China, with relations between Washington and Beijing at the lowest point in decades on a string of disputes. Biden has vowed to take a tougher line than Trump on human rights in China and other countries.



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