(AmericanPoliticalDaily.com)- The U.S. imposed new sanctions on 14 Chinese officials for their roles in Hong Kong’s elections.
The officials were allegedly involved in Beijing’s disqualification of four elected officials in Hong Kong last month. Those officials were opposition legislators. The new sanctions are financial in nature, and they also include a travel ban.
The officials targeted are vice chairpersons of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which is the highest decision-making body in China’s legislature.
The move is the latest in President Donald Trump’s hardline stance on China. His administration has been taking action against China for the last four years, and he’s seen to be pressuring Democrat Joe Biden, who will take office in January if he’s eventually named president-elect.
In a statement following the announcement of the latest sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:
“Beijing’s unrelenting assault against Hong Kong’s democratic processes has gutted its legislative council, rendering the body a rubber stamp devoid of meaningful opposition.”
In November, the government in Hong Kong, which is backed by Beijing, ousted four members of its legislature. The parliament in China gave authorities in the city new powers to stop dissent. Mass resignations followed from lawmakers on the opposite side who are pro-democracy.
When that happened, Robert O’Brien, the U.S. National Security Adviser, said the move by China proved its framework of “One Country, Two Systems” was now “merely a fig leaf.” That policy had been put in place in 1997 when the United Kingdom gave the territory back to China, and it was meant to ensure its autonomy from the mainland.
O’Brien promised at the time that America would take further action against Chinese officials as a result.
Following initial reports of the additional sanctions earlier this week, Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said at a news conference:
“China has always firmly opposed and strongly condemned U.S. interference in China’s domestic affairs through the Hong Kong issue.”
The NPCSC effectively “neutered” the ability of Hong Kong’s people to choose their own representatives through election, Pompeo said. He continued:
“These actions demonstrate once again Beijing’s complete disregard for its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty.”
China has continued to advance its actions recently, and that has concerned a lot of Western nations. Last month, another group called the Five Eyes — which is made up of the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong appears to be part of a broader campaign to silence their critics. The intelligence sharing group called on the Chinese to reverse course and allow the elected officials to remain.
The sanctions that the U.S. placed on the 14 officials include their immediate family members. It bars all of them from traveling to America. Any assets that these officials have within the United States will be blocked. In addition, all companies and individuals in the U.S. will be barred from dealing with these officials.