15:04 GMT18 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has targeted more than a dozen Chinese officials in a new round of sanctions over Hong Kong, the Department of the Treasury announced on Monday.

    The 14 designated individuals include Vice-Chairpersons of 13th National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) Dafeng Cai, Jianming Cao, Zhu Chen, Padma Choling and Weihua Wu among others, the Treasury Department said.

    In a statement issued on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the actions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) neutered the ability of the Hong Kong people to choose their elected representatives.

    "Today, the Department of State is holding accountable those responsible for these brazen acts," Pompeo said. "We are designating 14 Vice-Chairpersons of the NPCSC in connection with developing, adopting, or implementing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The NPCSC voted unanimously to adopt the National Security Law that Beijing has used repeatedly to stifle dissent and arrest those who protest Beijing’s oppressive policies."

    Pompeo said the designated persons and their immediate family members will be prohibited to travel to the United States, and their assets within US jurisdiction or in the possession or control of US persons will be blocked.

    Pompeo also said that US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with these individuals.

    In November, the US sanctioned four Chinese nationals for implementing China's national security law in Hong Kong and cracking down on protesters.

    Police officers prepare for protests in Hong Kong
    © Sputnik / Tommy Yang
    Police officers prepare for protests in Hong Kong

    In June 2019, mass protests erupted in Hong Kong as a reaction to a proposed bill that would allow people to be extradited from the city to mainland China. The demonstrations continued for weeks and turned violent even after the unpopular measure was withdrawn in September 2019. Beijing said that the situation in Hong Kong was a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs.

    To stabilize the situation in the city, the Chinese government in late June enacted the national security law in Hong Kong. The new legislation banned separatist and terrorist activities, along with any form of foreign interference in Hong Kong. It provoked a wave of criticism in Hong Kong and abroad with US President Donald Trump threatening to sanction both Chinese and Hong Kong officials for allegedly undermining the city's autonomy.

    Tags:
    Hong Kong, sanctions, China, US
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