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Hong Kong leader advocates retaliatory sanctions against West

Pro-democracy protesters during a demonstration in Hong Kong last year. Picture AP/Vincent Yu
Associated Press Reporter

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam voiced support for legislation allowing retaliatory sanctions after the US and other Western governments punished city officials over the ongoing crackdown on democracy activists.

Ms Lam said the anti-foreign sanctions law should be adopted in Hong Kong via local legislation, rather than imposed by Beijing, and said she had told the Chinese government about her views.

China’s broad anti-sanctions law was imposed in June.

Anyone hit with retaliatory sanctions could be subject to visa restrictions, having their assets seized or frozen and a ban on doing business with any Chinese company or individual in China.

The law comes after the US slapped sanctions on dozens of Chinese and Hong Kong officials, including Ms Lam, over their role in suppressing Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“There are external forces, or foreign governments or Western media, which would make use of the opportunity to weaken our international financial centre status as well as a weakening confidence in Hong Kong,” she said.

Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong last year, aiming to crack down on dissent following months of anti-government protests in the city that at times descended into violence.

Over 100 pro-democracy figures have been arrested under the national security law.

Critics have slammed the crackdown on political dissent, saying the former British colony is losing the freedoms it was promised when it was handed over to Chinese control in 1997.

This year, Hong Kong changed its election laws to reduce the number of directly elected politicians and give a largely pro-Beijing committee the leeway to nominate politicians aligned with Beijing.

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