US sanctions 14 China officials over Hong Kong crackdown

Posted at 1:41 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 13:41:49-05

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration is slapping sanctions on 14 Chinese officials over the crackdown on pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong.

The sanctions announced on Monday by the State and Treasury departments against members on the Chinese parliament's standing committee come as the administration steps up punitive measures against China, as well as Iran and Venezuela, as it winds down its time in office.

The sanctions freeze any assets the 14 targets may have in U.S. jurisdictions and bar them and their families from traveling to the United States. Just last week, the administration further restricted visa access for Chinese Communist Party officials as part of the campaign which has also seen penalties imposed on China for its actions in western Xinjiang province, Tibet, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

"Beijing's unrelenting assault against Hong Kong's democratic processes has gutted its Legislative Council, rendering the body a rubber stamp devoid of meaningful opposition," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that repeated condemnations of China's violations of the agreement with Britain that returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997.

"These actions demonstrate once again Beijing's complete disregard for its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a U.N.-registered treaty," he said.

The 14 officials are Wang Chen, Cao Jianming, Zhang Chunxian, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Arken Imirbaki, Wan Exiang, Chen Du, Wang Dongming, Padma Choling, Ding Zhongli, Hao Mingjin, Cai Dafeng, and Wu Weihua.

"Our actions today underscore that the United States will continue to work with our allies and partners to hold Beijing accountable for undermining Hong Kong's promised autonomy," Pompeo said. "The United States again urges Beijing to abide by its international commitments and to heed the voices of many countries, which have condemned its actions."