The answer was expected. The United States imposed, Friday, January 15, sanctions on six Chinese or Hong Kong officials after coordinated action by the Hong Kong authorities against activists and former elected pro-democracy.
On January 6, more than fifty Hong Kong opposition figures, as well as an American lawyer, were arrested in the name of the draconian national security law imposed at the end of June by Beijing. The adoption of this law, considered by the West as a denial of the autonomy granted to Hong Kong, has contributed to aggravate the already strong tensions between the United States and China.
Call for releases
In a statement, U.S. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo called on Beijing and Hong Kong to “Immediately release those targeted in the name of the law on national security or other texts simply for having exercised their rights and freedoms”. “We condemn the actions of the People’s Republic of China to undermine democratic freedoms and processes in Hong Kong and will continue to use all means at our disposal to hold those responsible to account.”, he added five days before the end of Donald Trump’s administration.
Among the officials targeted by these sanctions are Tam Yiu-chung, the only representative of the former British colony on the standing committee of the Chinese Parliament, as well as officials of the Hong Kong police division responsible for national security. The Hong Kong government criticized sanctions on Saturday in a statement “Foolish, shameless and contemptible”. He expressed “The greatest anger” and denounced the “Coercive measures” which he said represents Washington’s latest attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs.