US China ties Photograph:( Reuters )
"The ill intentions of US politicians to support people who are anti-China and messing up Hong Kong have been clearly revealed," Beijing's Liaison Office in Hong Kong said in a statement.
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Luo Huining, the head of China's Liaison Office, as well as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other current and former officials that Washington accuses of curtailing political freedoms in the global financial hub.
The move ratchets up already strained tensions between the United States and China, more than a month after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on Hong Kong that drew condemnation from Western governments and rights groups.
"The unscrupulous intentions of the US politicians to support the anti-China chaos in Hong Kong have been revealed, and their clowning actions are really ridiculous," the Liaison Office said in a statement.
"Intimidation and threats cannot frighten the Chinese people."
Luo, the most senior mainland political official based in the Chinese-controlled territory, said US sanctions on him indicated he was doing what he "should be doing for my country and Hong Kong", according to the statement.
As well as Luo and Lam, the sanctions target Hong Kong police commissioner Chris Tang and his predecessor Stephen Lo; John Lee, Hong Kong`s secretary of security, and Teresa Cheng, the justice secretary. Xia Baolong, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing, was also on the list.
The sanctions were imposed under an executive order US President Donald Trump signed last month to punish China for its moves against dissent in Hong Kong and are the latest action by his administration against Beijing in the run-up to his November re-election bid.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
The sanctions freeze any US asset of the officials and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.
Beijing imposed the law directly on Hong Kong just before midnight on June 30, circumventing the city's legislature, and the city's officials were not aware of the details of the law until it was implemented.
(with inputs from agencies)