Two insiders told Reuters that because of Beijing’s restrictions on democracy in Hong Kong, the United States was preparing to impose sanctions on Chinese officials and warn international companies operating there that conditions were deteriorating.
According to sources, the sanctions will target seven officials from China’s Hong Kong Liaison Office. This office is the official platform to spread Beijing influence in this area of China.
The Business Advisory Bulletin, published separately by the State Department, underscores the US Government’s concern about the impact that Hong Kong National Security Act will have on international companies. Critics say Beijing introduced a law last year that allows harassment of pro-democracy activists and the free press.
Both anonymous sources said the measures aimed at Hong Kong could still change.
A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said at a news conference on Friday that China would provide a “decisive, strong response” to US action.
The US Treasury Department declined to comment on media reports about possible sanctions.