Hong Kong Officials Condemn and Mock Trump Administration Sanctions



Hong Kong and Chinese officials by turns condemned and mocked a Friday move by the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and 10 other senior officials for their roles in a prolonged crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The Hong Kong government and several of the officials targeted dismissed the impact of the penalties, while also condemning them as “blatant and barbaric interference” in China’s domestic political situation. The head of China’s liaison office to Hong Kong, Luo Huining, said on Chinese media that the American efforts were a waste because he had no holdings in the United States, adding that he could send $100 to President Trump to give him something to freeze.

The condemnations and dismissals come as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated to a historical low point, and follow on the heels of a move on Thursday by the Trump administration to penalize two of the most successful apps to come out of China, TikTok and WeChat. Analysts say there is little hope relations will improve in the short term, with the American election looming and many Trump administration officials determined to reset the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

The new sanctions are the first against officials in Hong Kong and mainland China over the city’s harsh suppression of pro-democracy protests, and are yet another indication that the United States has begun to treat Hong Kong as simply another Chinese city. Last month, Mr. Trump also signed an executive order punishing China for its crackdown on Hong Kong, after Beijing imposed a national security law on the city in June that granted sweeping powers to security agencies and penalized some forms of political speech.

Credit cards could present another problem. Even if money is kept outside the United States, funds processed by Visa or Mastercard could also be affected. Visa and Mastercard did not immediately respond to questions about the impact of the measures.

In a public letter issued to Mrs. Lam on Saturday, an official at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said that the sanctions had no legal standing in Hong Kong.



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