The Hong Kong government has dismissed threats from the US to sanction financial institutions found to be working with 10 local and mainland officials deemed to have undermined the SAR's high degree of autonomy, saying any such sanctions wouldn't be valid under local law.
In a report to Congress under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, the US State Department had warned of tough action against international financial institutions doing business with the people on its sanctions list – including Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Liaison Office chief Luo Huining.
Beijing has responded by warning that China will take countermeasures if Washington continues "interfering" in local affairs. The SAR government also struck a defiant note, saying the threat of sanctions against banks "is another example of US hegemony".
A government spokesman said such sanctions would not create an obligation for financial institutions under Hong Kong law. "They will continue to operate normally and smoothly despite any undue pressure from the US," he said.
The government said it "strongly reprimands" the US authorities for publishing a report that contains what it called totally groundless and irresponsible accusations against Hong Kong.
The spokesman added that the Chief Executive and other officials who are being targeted have made it clear that they will not be intimidated, and rejected suggestions that the national security law has undermined Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, and freedoms.
The named officials, the spokesman said, will continue to discharge their duty to safeguard national security in accordance with the law without fear or anxiety.
US sanctions 'have no effect under HK law'
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