Three US representatives introduced the Hong Kong Sanctions Act to the US Congress on Thursday. Two US senators also introduced companion legislation.The Hong Kong Sanctions Act requires the US president to determine within six months whether 49 government officials, judges and prosecutors should be the subject of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act. Notably, the list of potentially sanctionable individuals includes the Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok, the Secretary General of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Sonny Au Chi-kwong and the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Andrew Cheung Kui-nung.Targeting Hong Kong’s judiciary, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) added, “[S]ince the 2019-2020 crackdown, the judiciary in Hong Kong has become an instrument of the CCP to target innocent civilians.” Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA) also cited Jimmy Lai‘s case as an example of the Chinese government’s efforts to exert control on Hong Kong under the guise of national security.The spokesperson for the Hong Kong government reiterated that safeguarding national security falls within the internal affairs of a sovereign jurisdiction. The Hong Kong government further reprimanded the representatives and senators for their attempt to intimidate Hong Kong officers safeguarding national security. The Hong Kong Judiciary also issued a statement refusing the allegations against them and contending that they continue to exercise judicial power independently as provided by the Basic Law. In responding to the potential sanctions, the judiciary affirmed that “all [Judges and Judicial Officers] exercise judicial power independently, and will continue to abide by the Judicial Oath and firmly discharge their duty in the administration of justice without fear from intimidation.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *