Beijing (China): Reacting to the US’ sanctions imposed on the Chinese and Hong Kong officials, Bejing on Monday (local time) announced sanctions on American officials and lawmakers for having “blatantly intervened” in Hong Kong.
South China Morning Post quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying as saying that the United States had “blatantly intervened” in Hong Kong by imposing sanctions on six mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials over the mass arrest of more than 50 pro-democracy politicians and activists in the city.
Without naming the US officials on whom the sanctions will be imposed, the Spokesperson said that “reciprocal sanctions” will be imposed on people who were “primarily responsible for the vile actions on Hong Kong”.
“The US must immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and immediately stop using various pretenses to interfere in China’s internal affairs, endangering China’s national security,” she said.
On January 16, the US had designated six Chinese and Hong Kong officials for their role in implementing the National Security Law imposed in Hong Kong.
According to an official statement issued by the US State Department, “On January 6, Hong Kong authorities arrested more than 50 people in an appalling crackdown on pro-democracy politicians and activists who were trying to advance fair and open primary elections for Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Thirteen former Legislative Council members, an American lawyer, and a former law professor were among those reportedly detained before being released on bail.”
The officials designated include You Quan, Vice Chairman of the Central Leading Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs; Sun Wenqing AKA Sun Qingye, Deputy Director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR; and Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
They have been designated “for being or having been leaders or officials of entities, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law,” the department said.
On January 6, over 50 opposition lawmakers and activists were arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law, for their part in a primary election run-off last July.
Among the arrested were former lawmakers James To Kun-sun, Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, and Wu Chi-wai, as well as pollster Dr. Robert Chung Ting-yiu, who helped organize the event, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Most of those had organized or taken part in primary contests held by the pan-democratic camp last July as part of a “35-plus” strategy to maximize its chances of taking control of the 70-member legislature.