China lashes out against US ‘bullying’ after sanctions on Hong Kong officials

Shanghai, China, Jul 17 (EFE).- China on Saturday called the sanctions imposed by the government of the United States on seven Chinese officials in Hong Kong inacceptable and arbitrary acts of “bullying,” which were aimed at undermining the autonomy of the territory.

In a statement, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong warned of repercussions against what was termed fresh interference by Washington in China’s “internal matters.”

The spokesperson said the sanctions were another example of the double standards employed by the US and were nothing more than a “piece of waste paper.”

The US has also issued an advisory to American companies operating in Hong Kong over the emerging regulatory, financial, legal and reputational risks due to Beijing’s imposition of the controversial national security law in the former British colony last year, apart from a new Chinese legislation to counter US sanctions.

Washington’s advisory warns of possible Chinese retaliation against companies complying with sanctions by the US and other countries, data privacy risks and “electronic surveillance without warrants.”

In response, the Chinese foreign ministry office said these were excuses behind which the US was trying to hide its true intention to undermine Hong Kong’s “prosperity and stability,” jeopardize China’s national security and stop development.

Beijing insists that the national security law – that carries sentences up to life imprisonment for crimes such as colluding with foreign forces and has been mainly used against dissidents and organizers of the 2019 anti-government protests – has ensured a “safer, stable and predictable” business environment for foreign investors.

The Chinese spokesperson stressed that the “legitimate rights and interests” of international investors, including US companies based in Hong Kong, were better protected now.

In a statement on Friday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said it was aware of the increasingly complicated “geopolitical risks” it faced but the city “remains a critical and vibrant facilitator of trade and financial flow between the East and West.”

“We believe it is important, perhaps more than ever, for AmCham to represent American businesses and to constructively work with our public and private stakeholders to build a Hong Kong for the future,” said the Chamber. EFE

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