US sanctions against eleven Hong Kong leaders are "savage" and "irrational", said a senior Hong Kong official today, stressing that they will have consequences for American companies.
"These kinds of sanctions that target officials and leaders from other countries are savage, disproportionate and irrational," said Hong Kong Secretary of Commerce Edward Yau.
"If the United States unilaterally takes this kind of irrational action, it will end up affecting US companies," he added.
Washington on Saturday announced sanctions against 11 Hong Kong officials, including chief executive Carrie Lam, accused of restricting the territory's autonomy and the "freedom of expression and assembly" of its inhabitants.
"The United States supports the people of Hong Kong and we will use all the tools and our authority to target those who attempt against their autonomy," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The Hong Kong police officer, the security secretary and the justice secretary are among those targeted.
The announcement of the sanctions, which provide for the confiscation, in the United States, of the assets of the people covered by the measure, comes in a context of worsening tensions between the United States and China, which has chosen to strengthen its control over the former British colony , which should guarantee broad autonomy until 2047 under the “One country, two systems” principle.
The national security law, imposed in late June by Beijing on Hong Kong, “not only undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy, but also violated the rights of Hong Kong’s inhabitants by allowing mainland China’s security services to operate with full impunity in the region, ”according to the US Treasury.
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of autonomy and freedoms unknown to the rest of the country, under the “One country, two systems” principle.
As with Macau since 1999, Hong Kong has agreed a 50-year period with a high degree of autonomy, at the executive, legislative and judicial level, with the central Chinese government being responsible for foreign relations and defense.