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Hong Kong government criticizes US for 'crazy' sanctions

Hong Kong government criticizes US for 'crazy' sanctions

Hong Kong responded on Saturday to the United States for its latest sanctions on six pro-China officials, calling the move "insane, brazen and despicable."

The United States announced Friday that it would impose sanctions on half a dozen officials, including Hong Kong's sole representative to China's main legislative body, for the arrests of more than 50 pro-democracy activists in the financial center.

In a statement, the Hong Kong government expressed its "utmost anger" and denounced the "coercive measures" which it said was the latest attempt by Washington to intervene in China's internal affairs and obstruct the city's efforts to safeguard national security.

China last year imposed a draconian security law in Hong Kong after widespread and sometimes violent protests that sought to preserve the territory's separate freedoms.

At least 90 people have been arrested under the security law that imposes up to life in prison for any crime that Beijing considers "secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism."

The latest mass arrest, described by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as "appalling", includes US-born human rights lawyer John Clancey, prominent activist Joshua Wong and law professor Benny Tai.

"The United States government has taken advantage of all incidents and excuses to make defamatory comments about the National Security Act," a government spokesman said in a statement.

"We could not avoid suspecting that the National Security Law has touched a nerve of these foreign or external forces," the spokesperson added.

The United States previously imposed sanctions on Hong Kong's top leader, Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam, who later acknowledged that she has had to rely on cash and can no longer have a bank account.

Yesterday's sanctions affected Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong's delegate to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and You Quan, the vice president of the Chinese government group that handles policy towards Hong Kong and its former colony Macao.

Three Hong Kong security officials were also affected by the sanctions, which restrict any American transactions with them.

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