Hong Kong: The Hong Kong government on Saturday hit out at the United States for imposing stringent sanctions against six officials for their role in implementing the Beijing-imposed draconian National Security Law as “insane, shameless and despicable”.
According to the South China Morning Post, the government said that it fully supported Beijing in adopting “appropriate countermeasures” in response to the action on the group. The names on the list included Tam Yiu-chung, the city’s sole delegate to China’s top legislative body.
The sanctions were imposed by Washington over the mass arrests of opposition activists earlier this month by Hong Kong police’s national security unit as a measure to further clamp down dissent in the region.
A spokesman for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s administration condemned the “coercive measures”, accusing the US of attempting to intervene in China’s internal affairs and obstructing Hong Kong’s efforts to safeguard national security.
“The US government has exploited every incident and excuse to make slandering remarks about the national security law and attack the [People’s Republic of China] and the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] authorities in their dutiful, faithful and lawful implementation of the law,” the spokesman said, as quoted by South China Morning Post.
He added, “We cannot help but suspect that the national security law has touched a nerve with foreign or external forces.”
Washington passed laws and has taken sweeping actions “under the pretext of human rights, democracy and autonomy” during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in 2019, but had itself breached international law in handling the recent siege of the US Capitol, the spokesman added,
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday night called the recent crackdown in Hong Kong “appalling”.
“We condemn [People’s Republic of China’s] actions that erode Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes and will continue to use all tools at our disposal to hold those responsible to account,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Washington on Friday (local time) 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 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.”
Pompeo said that the Department of State is assigning 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 agent to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, “for being or having been pioneers or authorities of substances, including any administration element, that have occupied with, or whose individuals have occupied with, creating, embracing, or actualizing the National Security Law.”
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.
The 35-plus strategy was drafted by Occupy co-founder and law academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting in March last year. Its aim is to gain a majority in the Legislative Council election (35 seats or more), and then vote down the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s budget twice, if possible, SCMP reported.
The draconian security law was implemented in Hong Kong in June last year.
According to the national security law, a principal offender convicted of subversion faces imprisonment of 10 years to life, while an “active participant” can be sentenced to between three and 10 years’ jail, while a minor can face a fixed term of not more than three years’ imprisonment or short-term detention or restriction.