The United States warned entrepreneurs about the "increasing risks" of operating in Hong Kong.

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source: www.aljazeera.com

The Biden administration imposed sanctions on seven Chinese officials in the former British colony. "Today, we send a clear message that the US strongly supports the Hong Kongers," warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The United States on Friday warned its businesses about the "growing risks" of operating in Hong Kong, a longtime major international financial center, due to sanctions imposed by China.

It also imposed sanctions on seven Hong Kong Chinese officials after indicating that Beijing had to pay the price for setting a strict security law a year ago on the former British colony that returned to China in 1997.

"Beijing has undermined Hong Kong's reputation as a responsible, transparent, and respectful government of individual freedoms and broke its promise to keep Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy unchanged for 50 years," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. It's a statement.

"Today we are sending a clear message that the United States fully supports the Hong Kongers," he added.

In a long-awaited warning, the Joe Biden government warned of the increase in risks - derived from the security law - that "could negatively affect companies and people operating in Hong Kong."

The law, which prohibits subversion and other crimes against the state, was imposed in June 2020 after massive protests to demand the preservation of fundamental rights promised by China to the territory before its return by London.

He said companies should be aware of the legal credibility, regulatory, financial and some legal risks involved in their operations in Hong Kong.

However, the notice acknowledged that Hong Kong" retains many economic distinctions" from the mainland, including stricter intellectual property protections.

He spoke in support of the US Alliance but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer.

Dozens of people have been charged under the law, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, former lawmakers, and pro-democracy activists.

New sanctions

The United States also noted increased risks to data privacy and a lack of transparency and access to information, highlighting the closure of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily.

It also indicated that companies were at greater risk of being hit by US sanctions targeting banks if they worked with the Chinese police or other institutions considered complicit in Hong Kong's restrictions on autonomy.

In the sanctions on Friday, Blinken reported the blocking of interests or properties in the United States of seven deputy directors of the Liaison Office, representing Beijing in the former British territory.

In recent years, Washington, whose relations with China have deteriorated dramatically, had already imposed sanctions on senior officials, including Beijing-aligned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who admitted the measures caused her problems using her credit cards. Credit.

Xia Baolong, director of the Chinese Office of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, said on Friday that the sanctions "will only evoke our anger." It would be like "lifting a stone to drop it heavily on its own feet. The long river of history has proved countless times that victory must belong to the Chinese people! Xia said in a speech.

In a statement following the US warning, the Chinese Foreign Ministry commissioner's office in Hong Kong said the United States was trying to "mislead" international companies." The dreamers of the world will keep their eyes open, American tricks will not fool them, and they will make the right choice," he said.

Hong Kong has emerged as one of the world's leading trading centers thanks to its business-friendly laws, respect for the rule of law, and proximity to the Chinese market. But since the imposition of the new security law, a growing number of international companies have announced plans to leave or reduce their staff in Hong Kong.