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Over the past year, People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong officials have systematically undermined Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, delayed elections, disqualified elected lawmakers from office, and forced officials to take loyalty oaths to keep their jobs.  Since protests began in 2019, local authorities have arrested thousands for speaking out against government policies with which they disagreed, including for their social media posts and for attending vigils.  Journalists have been arrested simply for doing their jobs in reporting on the government’s activities and repressive efforts against protesters.  Hong Kong authorities have mounted a persistent and politically motivated campaign against the free press, imprisoned Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai, and forced the closure of that publication – a bastion of independent reporting.  Beijing has chipped away at Hong Kong’s reputation of accountable, transparent governance and respect for individual freedoms, and has broken its promise to leave Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy unchanged for 50 years.

We will continue to stand up for the rights and freedoms guaranteed to people in Hong Kong by the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.  In the face of Beijing’s decisions over the past year that have stifled the democratic aspirations of people in Hong Kong, we are taking action.  Today we send a clear message that the United States resolutely stands with Hong Kongers.

Promoting Accountability:  The Department of State has designated Chen Dong, Yang Jianping, Qiu Hong, Lu Xinning, Tan Tieniu, He Jing, and Yin Zonghua, who are Deputy Directors of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (LOCPG).  The LOCPG is the PRC’s main platform for projecting its influence in Hong Kong and has repeatedly undermined the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong in the Sino – British Joint declaration. The seven officials are being designated under Executive Order 13936.

Transparency:  Hong Kong’s business environment has deteriorated in the past year.  The many legal, financial, operational, and reputational risks long present in mainland China are now increasingly prevalent in Hong Kong.  A healthy business and investment climate requires a transparent regulatory framework and adherence to the rule of law.  Today, the Department of State, together with the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Treasury, released a Business Advisory warning of increased risks for businesses in Hong Kong.  These risks include those introduced by the National Security Law and other new legislation, potential electronic surveillance and lack of data privacy, reduced access to information, and potential retaliation against companies for their compliance with U.S. sanctions.  The business advisory outlines these emerging risks to inform U.S. individuals and businesses and recommends increased awareness and due diligence.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future