A deputy head at Beijing's top think-tank on Hong Kong, Lau Siu-kai, said on Monday he thinks US sanctions will result in Beijing taking a stronger stance against people here who he said "are close to the US".
Without naming anyone, Lau told an RTHK radio programme that Beijing is worried that "the collusion" between these people and America would harm China.
Lau, who's the vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said he didn't think the sanctions announced on Friday targeting a group of Hong Kong and mainland officials came as a surprise.
He said he expects Beijing to "do a little more" in its counter-measures than what is proportionate, saying the central government would want Washington to pay the price so as to protect the dignity of the Chinese nation.
Lau said the sanctions would not be tolerated, calling them "a challenge to Chinese sovereignty, with an intention to control and threaten Chinese and Hong Kong officials".
He said the national security law was made to tackle these "pro-US forces, and primarily targeting hostile American forces". And he thinks the sanctions will lead to anti-US sentiment among Hong Kong people.
Lau's comments came after the arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai and six others on alleged collusion with foreign forces under the national security law.
Lau said while he doesn't know if the arrest is part of Beijing's counter-measures against the sanctions, he said the arrests are “most likely” in line with Beijing’s policy towards Washington, Hong Kong and local forces "seen to be close to America".
He told RTHK's Damon Pang: "Beijing has already warned the local forces which are closely linked to the US have to be aware that they're seen as being hostile towards China and working together with external forces against Hong Kong and China."