Govt rejects US criticism, slams new sanctions

The government accused the United States of having a hidden agenda and of fear-mongering after Washington imposed sanctions on Liaison Office officials and issued a business advisory warning businesses about the risks posed by the National Security Law.

Late on Friday, the US added seven deputy directors at the Liaison Office to the US Treasury’s “specially designated nationals” list: Chen Dong, He Jing, Lu Xinning, Qiu Hong, Tan Tienui, Yang Jianping, and Yin Zonghua.

In its brief statement, the Treasury Department also referred to a separate updated business advisory issued by the State Department that highlighted US government concerns about the impact on international companies of the National Security Law.

Critics say Beijing implemented that law last year to facilitate a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and a free press.

The advisory and new sanctions were announced just over a year after former President Donald Trump ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special status under US law to punish China for what he called “oppressive actions” against the SAR.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on other senior officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and senior police officers, for their roles in curtailing political freedoms in the territory.

In a statement issued early on Saturday morning, the government condemned the new sanctions, and said the business advisory was “based on totally ridiculous and unfounded fear-mongering”.

It said the security law had helped the SAR move “from chaos to order”, and had restored business confidence, and had made the SAR stronger, better and more attractive to businesses.

“The main victims of this latest fallout will sadly be those US businesses and US citizens who have taken Hong Kong as their home,” a government spokesman said.

The government spokesman also said that foreign politicians smearing the security law “were motivated by a broader geopolitical agenda to suppress China”, and accused the United States of meddling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.

The government also rejected US claims that Beijing’s changes threatened the independent judiciary in the SAR.

“Facts speak louder than words,” the spokesman said. “The rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong after the implementation of the National Security Law are as robust as ever.”

He said the city’s status as an international financial centre “has not wavered at all, and the linked exchange rate system continued to work well.
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Last updated: 2021-07-17 HKT 07:12