Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam calls US sanctions an 'inconvenience'

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Published: Aug 18, 2020, 12:23 PM(IST)

Carrie Lam Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Washington had imposed sanctions against senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials for actions it said curtailed political freedoms in the former British colony.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that US sanctions against her will cause ''inconvenience'' in her personal affairs, but nothing she will take to heart.

Washington had imposed sanctions against senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials for actions it said curtailed political freedoms in the former British colony.

The US Treasury Department singled out Lam for "implementing Beijing's policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes".

Also see: Timeline of Hong Kong's struggle against Chinese hegemony

The sanctions came in response to China's imposition of a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous city after prolonged anti-China, pro-democracy protests last year.

The legislation punishes anything China considers secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison and has drawn criticism from Western countries that worry the law will end the freedoms promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Also read: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam returns Cambridge fellowship over rights row

The sanctions freeze any US assets of the officials targeted and bar Americans from doing business with them.

Lam said that while she could not travel to the United States herself, her government would continue to promote Hong Kong to US businesses.

The US government has also required goods made in the former British colony for export to the United States to be labelled as made in China after Sept. 25.

Lam said Hong Kong and China were separate WTO members and Hong Kong would lodge a complaint against the U.S. decision.

The Hong Kong government initially denounced the US sanctions as "shameless and despicable" and "blatant and barbaric" interference in China's internal affairs.

Beijing and Lam's government have defended the national security law as necessary for the city's stability and prosperity, and they said imposing it was China's legitimate right.

Asked about the international community's criticism of last week's arrest of pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai, and the search of his Apple Daily newsroom by some 200 police officers, Lam said she could not comment on individual cases, but warned of "double standards" in concerns expressed by other countries.

She said the government's decision to postpone elections for the city's legislature for a year amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases was criticised by countries that did not level similar criticism of other governments that postponed votes.

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