The United States on Friday imposed sanctions against Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 other top Hong Kong and mainland officials, freezing their assets and prohibiting them from carrying out any kind of business in the country, in light of Beijing's imposition of the national security law in the SAR.
Others hit with sanctions include Police Commissioner Chris Tang, his predecessor Stephen Lo, Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, Security Secretary John Lee, Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Xia Baolong, his deputy Zhang Xiaoming, and liaison office chief Luo Huining.
Also on the list are director of the new Office For Safeguarding National Security Zheng Yanxiong, the secretary general of the Committee For Safeguarding National Security and CE office head Eric Chan, and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang.
"Carrie Lam is the Chief Executive directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes," the US Treasury Department said.
It noted that police chief Tang had enthusiastically supported the security law and said it was his officers who "besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic under his leadership, along with arresting hundreds of protesters". When Lo was in charge of the force last year, "over 4,000 protesters were arrested and 1,600 injured in clashes," the department added.
"Today's actions send a clear message that the Hong Kong authorities' actions are unacceptable," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
"The United States stands with the Hong Kong people," he added.
A statement on the Treasury Department website said: "all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)."
"The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person."