China to sanction those who 'meddle in Hong Kong issue' after new U.S. ban
Updated 21:36, 09-Dec-2020

Just a day after Washington announced its fresh round of sanctions targeting Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong issues, Beijing acted back and announced countermeasures for U.S. authorities who "jeopardize its sovereignty," in the latest move aggravating tensions between the world's two largest powers.

Earlier in August, bans were also imposed on several key leading figures of the Asian Financial hub. Chief Executive Carrie Lam was one of them on the list.

Late Wednesday, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) – China's top legislative body – slammed the new ban in a statement, calling it "a typical political bullying." "We firmly oppose any force from outside China to meddle in Hong Kong issues and will fulfill our lawful obligations as always", the statement read.

"The sanctity of Chinese law shall not be encroached."

Washington slapped restrictions against 14 officials over their alleged role in "Beijing's disqualification of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong" – including authorities in China's top legislature and the Communist Party of China (CPC), with measures including asset freezes and financial sanctions.

A Legislative Council session convenes in the HKSAR, China, January 16, 2020. /Xinhua

A Legislative Council session convenes in the HKSAR, China, January 16, 2020. /Xinhua

In early November, the Standing Committee of China's NPC passed a resolution that would immediately remove disqualified Hong Kong legislators, including those who "endanger national security, support 'Hong Kong independence' or seek foreign meddling in Hong Kong affairs", if approved by the local government.

Four former legislators were immediately disqualified following the decision.

"We ... could not allow members of the LegCo (the HKSAR Legislative Council) who had been judged in accordance to the law that they could not fulfill the requirement and prerequisite to continue to operate in the LegCo," Lam told the media in November. The Hong Kong leader also denied filibustering and added that her administration still welcomes "diverse opinions."

The Chinese government immediately summoned the current chief of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, stressing that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal matter and that the U.S. is not entitled to intervene in any way. 

"The latest sanctions are toxic and pernicious and fit the definition of short-sightedness and knee-jerk reactions that are once again on display from the Trump administration regarding a Chinese domestic issue," commented Hamzah Rifaat Hussain, assistant researcher at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in Pakistan, in a CGTN Opinion piece.

"It is part of the systematic, targeted campaign aimed at delegitimizing China in Hong Kong with a blueprint drawn out well before the sanctions were imposed on 14 Chinese officials," he added.