The United States has sanctioned Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and 10 other Chinese and Hong Kong individuals, the Treasury announced on Friday.
"Today, the Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on 11 individuals for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong", the statement said.
The sanctions also target Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) Commissioner Chris Tang, Former HKPF Commissioner Stephen Lo, HKSAR Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu and HKSAR Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng.
Also among the new designations are HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Xia Baolong, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Zhang Xiaoming, Director of the Hong Kong Liaison Office Luo Huining and Director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Zheng Yanxiong and Secretary General, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR Eric Chan.
Earlier, Bloomberg reported citing three people familiar with the matter that the Trump administration was set to impose sanctions on Lam and other Chinese officials over the new security legislation in the territory.
Last month, the Trump administration revoked Hong Kong's preferred economic status with the US in response to China's decision to introduce a new security law in the territory.
Additionally, Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act allowing sanctions on individuals who are involved in the implementation of China’s new security law in the special administrative region. The legislation outlaws separatist, subversive and terrorist activities in Hong Kong. On 30 June, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed it into effect.
US-China tensions over Hong Kong have also been exacerbated by the delayed parliamentary vote. Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the decision to delay the 6 September election to the Legislative Assembly to 2021, citing coronavirus fears.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the postponement saying that Hong Kong was likely "to never again be able to vote for anything or anyone" and would become "just another city in China".