UK cautiously considers whether to sanction China and Hong Kong officials

In response to the Hong Kong government’s disqualification of four lawmakers from the Legislative Council, British Foreign Office Minister for Asia Nigel Adams told the House of Commons yesterday that the government would carefully consider whether to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials under the Magnitsky Act.

Asked whether the sanctions would include Hong Kong Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet, Adams declined to give details, saying “speculation on the sanctions list at this stage would not be helpful”.

Adams also said that the British side summoned China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, to convey the British government’s concern over the incident and ask China to fulfill its international obligations.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab followed up Wednesday’s statement with another one yesterday in which he accused China of “clearly violating” the Sino-British Joint Statement. He said that the Chinese government had “once again broken its promise and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy” and that Britain would stand with the Hong Kong people in condemning the violation of their rights and freedoms.

The United States, Canada and Germany have also publicly condemned China for breaking its promise to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the decision was “sensible, reasonable, constitutional and legal” and aimed to uphold and improve the “one country, two systems” system.