[Mayflower Analysis] Sanction War Over Hong Kong: CCP VS. U.S.

Mayflower Writer Team | Reporter: Amy Q | Editor & Publish: Jamie      

Response of sanctioned official Senator Marco Rubio on Twitter

On August 10, 2020, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on a briefing in Beijing, that China would sanction 11 U.S. citizens “in response to the U.S.’s wrong behaviors” on issues concerning Hong Kong. However, Zhao never specified of how the sanctions would be imposed. And there are no official papers about the sanctions released by the Chinese authority.

Unlike the U.S. sanctions put on 11 Hong Kong officials just three days ago, indicated as “wrong behaviors” in Zhao’s statement, the 11 Americans on the China’s sanction list were not only limited to government officials like Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Congressman Chris Smith, heads of organizations promoting democratic causes such as National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House were also named.

Response of sanctioned official Senators Josh Hawley and Pat Toomey on Twitter

Carrie Lam has told us how her life was influenced by the sanctions, in fact, the 11 Hong Kong officials weren’t the only group that U.S. sanctioned over Hong Kong issues. On December 7, 2020 U.S. Department of Treasury updated the Specially Designated Nationals List: 14 Vice-Persons of 13th Chinese Standing Committee of National People’s Congress became Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department) new sanction targets. All 14 of them had participated in the legislation of the national security law on June 30, 2020.

It’s worth noting that, both Hong Kong-related designations are based on the same executive order – Executive Order 13936, also known as “The President’s Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization.” Former U.S. President Donald Trump signed the executive order on July 14, 2020. On the same day Trump also signed into law Hong Kong Autonomy Act. Both the act and the executive order demonstrated U.S.’s response to China’s national security law.

President Donald Trump signing the order and the act at the Resolute desk, with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (left) and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right), Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Since there are no official papers of CCP sanctioning U.S. citizens to be found, there is no way for us to know on what laws or acts these sanctions were based, which is another difference between the U.S. and CCP’s sanctions.

Laws that the Executive Order and sanctions quoted

According to the New York Times report, spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hua Chunying stated on December 8, 2020: “ The Chinese government and people express strong indignation and condemnation toward the American side’s rude and unreasonable, crazy and vile behavior.” Though CCP denounced the U.S. sanctions as interference in its internal affairs, after searching on the whole network, there are no signs of CCP-based media reporting on the sanctions.

Thus, there’s no way for us to find out these 14 Chinese officials’ reactions to the sanctions. What we also don’t know is the net worth of these 14 sanctioned Vice-Chairpersons. Compared profiles of sanctioned Congressman Chris Smith and sanctioned Vice-Chairman Cao Jianming on Wikipedia, it’s not hard to see that what we could know about a Chinese official is rather limited. A U.S. politician’ disclosed information can go for pages, while Chinese officials don’t seem to want people learn about their real lives.


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