Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was among the 10 Chinese and Hong Kong officials named in a report Wednesday to be sanctioned. Photo by Vivek Prakash/EPA-EFE
Oct. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department submitted a report to Congress on Wednesday naming 10 Chinese and Hong Kong government officials to sanction for contributing to the deterioration of the former British colony's autonomy.
The report was published under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law this July, that calls for mandatory sanctions to be imposed against persons and entities who contribute to China's reneging on its responsibilities to Hong Kong as well as those who infringe upon at its autonomy.
All those named in the report Wednesday have been previously sanctioned but it sends a warning to banks as the new sanctions blacklist the officials from interacting with financial institutions.
It also states a second report will be submitted by the State Department and U.S. Treasury to Congress in 60 days naming all foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct any "significant transaction" with those blacklisted.
"This report underscores our ongoing objection to Beijing's actions that are intentionally designed to erode the freedoms of people of Hong Kong and impose the CCP's oppressive policies," Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement referring to the Chinese Communist Party by its initials.
The Trump administration has taken a hard stance against China that has only further solidified following its response to last year's pro-democracy protests and this summer's installation of a draconian national security law that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the "death knell" for Hong Kong's autonomy.
"The Chinese Communist Party has routinely dismantled the autonomy that Beijing promised to the Hong Kong people & the world in a U.N.-registered treaty," Pompeo tweeted Wednesday, referring to the Sino-British Joint Declaration that returned Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under the condition it maintains its high degree of autonomy.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam is among the 10 people named, all of whom were first targeted with sanctions by the U.S. Treasury in August.
Those named include members of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, a secretary of justice, the head of the security bureau that oversees the Hong Kong Police Force as well as the region's police commissioner, among others.
China has repeatedly accused the United States and other nations that have moved to punish it for its treatment of Hong Kong of meddling in its internal affairs and has threatened retaliatory measures against the United States.
The State Department listed as some of China's more recent transgressions committed against Hong Kong's autonomy include the arrest of opposition lawmakers, the editing of textbooks to remove references to civil disobedience and separation of powers in Hong Kong and arrest warrants issued for statements made supporting democracy in Hong Kong.
The report also highlights the arrest of hundreds of protesters in September as well as state-run media suggesting residents meeting with foreign diplomats amounts to collusion charges under the new national security law.
"The actions described above demonstrate that the PRC, through the implementation of the National Security Law by the Hong Kong Government, is actively seeking to undermine Hong Kong's autonomy and failing to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law," the report said, referring to the Asian nation by the initials of its official name, the People's Republic of China.