US Treasury sanctions HK leaders

Treasury Sanctions Individuals for Undermining Hong Kong’s Autonomy

Carrie Lam Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Chris Tang, Commissioner of Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF)Stephen Lo, Former Commissioner of HKPFJohn Lee Ka-chiu, HKSAR Secretary for SecurityTeresa Cheng, HKSAR Secretary for JusticeErick Tsang, Chief Executive, HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs
Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State CouncilZhang Xiaoming, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State CouncilLuo Huining, Director of the Hong Kong Liaison OfficeZheng Yanxiong, Director, Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong KongEric Chan, Chief Executive, Secretary General, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR

7 August 2020: U.S. Department of the Treasury

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on 11 individuals for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong.

These actions were taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13936, “The President’s Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization,” which President Trump issued on 14 July 2020. E.O. 13936 declares a national emergency with respect to the situation in Hong Kong, including recent actions taken by the People’s Republic of China to fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic processes, and provides for the imposition of sanctions on actors engaged in these malign activities.

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E.O. 13936 also builds on and implements provisions of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019  and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act of 2020. The recent imposition of draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong has not only undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy, it has also infringed on the rights of people in Hong Kong, allowing mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in the region, mandating “national security education” in Hong Kong schools, undermining the rule of law, and setting the groundwork for censorship of any individuals or outlets that are deemed unfriendly to China.

Today, Treasury is sanctioning Carrie Lam, Chris Tang, Stephen Lo, John Lee Ka-chiu, Teresa Cheng, Erick Tsang, Xia Baolong, Zhang Xiaoming, Luo Huining, Zheng Yanxiong, and Eric Chan.

“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy.” Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin

Carrie Lam, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Carrie Lam

Chief Executive, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Carrie Lam is the chief executive directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes. In 2019, Lam pushed for an update to Hong Kong’s extradition arrangements to allow for extradition to the mainland, setting up a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong. Lam is designated for being involved in developing, adopting, or implementing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (National Security Law).

Chris Tang, Commissioner of Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF)

Chris Tang

Commissioner of Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF)

Chris Tang, as the Commissioner of the HKPF, has enthusiastically supported the Hong Kong National Security Law. The HKPF besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic under his leadership, along with arresting hundreds of protestors. Chris Tang also sits upon the newly established Committee for Safeguarding National Security. He is designated for coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of the National Security Law.

Stephen Lo, Former Commissioner of HKPF

Stephen Lo

Former Commissioner of HKPF

Stephen Lo was the previous commissioner of the HKPF until 2019. Under his leadership, over 4,000 protestors were arrested and 1,600 injured in clashes. Stephen Lo is designated as a leader or official of a government entity whose members have engaged in activities to prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly in Hong Kong.

John Lee Ka-chiu, HKSAR Secretary for Security

John Lee Ka-chiu

HKSAR Secretary for Security

John Lee Ka-chiu is the Secretary for Security in Hong Kong, where his office is responsible for all security-related policies. John Lee Ka-chiu is also a member of the Executive Council of the HKSAR government, an organ for assisting the Chief Executive in policy-making, and has introduced a new police unit dedicated to enforcing the Hong Kong National Security Law which will have intelligence gathering and investigation capabilities. He is designated for being involved in coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning individuals under the authority of the National Security Law, as well as being involved in its development, adoption, or implementation.

Teresa Cheng, HKSAR Secretary for Justice 

Teresa Cheng

HKSAR Secretary for Justice

Teresa Cheng is the Secretary for Justice for Hong Kong. As head of the Hong Kong Department of Justice, Teresa Cheng has said that her major responsibility is implementing and safeguarding national security in the HKSAR. She is designated for being responsible or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law.

Erick Tsang, Chief Executive, HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

Erick Tsang

HKSAR Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs

In April, Erick Tsang assumed the post of Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland affairs, the office that maintains relations between the HKSAR government and mainland Chinese government. He is designated for being responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law.

Xia Baolong, Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Xia Baolong

Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

In February 2020, Xia Baolong was announced as the newest Director for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, an organization within the State Council designed to assist the premier in dealing with auairs related to Hong Kong and Macao. The Office has stated that it is entitled to supervise affairs in Hong Kong, including implementation of the Basic Law of the HKSAR. Xia Baolong is designated for being a leader or official of a government entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.

Zhang Xiaoming, Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Zhang Xiaoming

Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Zhang Xiaoming is former Director and current Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, where he is in charge of daily operations. As Director, he backed the controversial 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill. He is designated for being a leader or official of a government entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.

Luo Huining, Director of the Hong Kong Liaison Office

Luo Huining

Director of the Hong Kong Liaison Office

Luo Huining is mainland China’s top official in Hong Kong, as the Director of the Hong Kong Liaison Office. The Liaison Office has claimed that it is entitled to intervene in Hong Kong affairs despite the Basic Law’s prohibition on interference in the affairs which the HKSAR administers in accordance with the Basic Law. Luo Huining is also a National Security Advisor to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. He is designated for being a leader or official of a government entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.

Zheng Yanxiong, Director, Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong

Zheng Yanxiong

Director, Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong

Zheng Yanxiong is the inaugural director of the newly created Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. The Office was established under the Hong Kong National Security Law and has broad powers to supervise local authorities and directly investigate major cases. As the Office’s Director, Zheng Yanxiong is designated for being a leader or official of a government entity that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong.

Eric Chan, Chief Executive, Secretary General, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR

Eric Chan

Secretary General, Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR

Eric Chan, the director of the Chief Executive Office, was appointed by Beijing to be the Secretary General of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security as recently established by the Hong Kong National Security Law. The Committee’s work is not to be made public and its decisions are not subject to judicial review. As such, Eric Chan is designated for being responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing the National Security Law.


The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong in their ongoing pursuit of freedom and democracy.

The 11 individuals designated today have implemented policies directly aimed at curbing freedom of expression and assembly, and democratic processes, and are subsequently responsible for the degradation of Hong Kong’s autonomy. The United States will use the authorities in the Executive Order to continue to pursue those that implement these nefarious policies.

Sanctions Implications

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.

The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person.

More information on the entities designated today.

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Related: In the hours before the 23 anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Beijing’s new National Security Law was gazetted after it became effective in the city, having been signed into law earlier in Beijing by President Xi.

“The rules will be overseen and enforced by a new mainland Chinese agency with the power of the state behind it to take over some cases and operate in the city without falling under local jurisdiction.”  SCMP

The full legislation is 66 articles in six chapters listing four categories of offenses: secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security. Each crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment with the suggested sentence for some minor offenses less than three years’ imprisonment.

Read the full text of the National Security Law.