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US to impose sanctions on Hong Kong leader Lam

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, attends a news conference in Hong Kong, China

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will impose sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other Chinese officials on Friday for their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory, Bloomberg News reported.

Bloomberg, which cited three people familiar with the matter, said the sanctions would be imposed under an executive order Trump signed last month to punish China for its moves against dissent in Hong Kong.

The U.S. State and Treasury departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tensions between the United States and China have been increasing daily. China’s foreign ministry said on Friday it firmly opposes executive orders that Trump announced this week to ban U.S. transactions with the Chinese owners of the WeChat and TikTok apps.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which Trump signed last month allows him to impose sanctions and visa restrictions on Chinese officials and financial institutions involved in the imposition of a new national security law in Hong Kong.

Last month, Carrie Lam postponed a Sept. 6 election to Hong Kong’s legislature by a year because of a rise in coronavirus cases, dealing a blow to the pro-democracy opposition that had hoped to make huge gains.

The United States condemned the move, saying it was the latest example of Beijing undermining democracy in the Chinese-ruled territory.

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