Hong Kong Autonomy Act Report

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has systematically dismantled the autonomy that Beijing promised to the Hong Kong people and the world in a UN-registered treaty. Through the imposition of the National Security Law, the CCP has crippled democratic institutions, human rights, judicial independence, and individual freedoms in Hong Kong. The United States has publicly condemned an increasing number of problematic actions taken by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to stifle dissent and eviscerate Hong Kong’s autonomy. These include the installation of a mainland security agency, mass arrests of peaceful protestors, the politically motivated delay of the September 2020 Legislative Council elections, and the capture and detention of Hong Kong democratic activists attempting to leave Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act requires the Secretary of State to submit a report to Congress identifying foreign persons who are materially contributing to, have materially contributed to, or attempt to materially contribute to the failure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to meet its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration or Hong Kong’s Basic Law. This year’s report includes ten PRC and Hong Kong officials whose actions have undermined freedoms of assembly, speech, press, or the rule of law, or whose actions have reduced the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong. On August 7, the United States imposed sanctions on these same individuals under Executive Order 13936.

The release of this report underscores our ongoing objection to Beijing’s actions that are intentionally designed to erode the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and impose the CCP’s oppressive policies.

For more information about reporting requirements under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, including required reports by the Secretary of the Treasury, please see guidance from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control available here.

Identification of Foreign Persons Involved in the Erosion of the Obligations of China Under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law

Foreign Persons Materially Contributing to the Failure of the PRC To Meet Its Obligations Under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law

Under Section 5(g) of the Act, a foreign person materially contributes to the failure of the Government of China to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration or Basic Law if the person:  “(1) took action that resulted in the inability of the people of Hong Kong (A) to enjoy freedom of assembly, speech, press, or independent rule of law, or (B) to participate in democratic outcomes; or (2) otherwise took action that reduces the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong.”  The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, has considered foreign persons from the perspective of such actions. 

 Pursuant to Section 5(a) of the Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, has determined that the 10 foreign persons listed below are materially contributing to, have materially contributed to, or attempt to materially contribute to the failure of the PRC to meet its obligations under the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law, as described in section 5(g) of the Act.  As also required under section 5(a), the list below includes (1) an identification of the foreign person; and (2) a clear explanation for why the foreign person was identified and a description of the activity that resulted in the identification.  The Department of the Treasury has already imposed asset-blocking sanctions on each of the foreign persons listed in this report on August 7, 2020, when it designated those persons pursuant to E.O. 13936.1      

Xia Baolong:  Xia Baolong is the head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, which is one of Beijing’s primary vehicles for implementing its Hong Kong strategy.  Xia Baolong oversees the Office’s promotion of the principles and policies of the central government concerning Hong Kong, including the National Security Law.  Under Xia’s leadership, the Office has taken a number of actions to interfere in Hong Kong’s autonomy, including issuing statements asserting its authority to supervise Hong Kong’s internal affairs in contradiction to the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.     

Zhang Xiaoming:  Zhang Xiaoming is the Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.  As Deputy Director, Zhang is in charge of the Office’s daily operations and helps oversee its promotion of the principles and policies of the central government concerning Hong Kong, including the National Security Law.  During Zhang’s tenure, the Office has taken a number of actions to interfere in Hong Kong’s autonomy, including issuing statements asserting its authority to supervise Hong Kong’s internal affairs in contradiction to the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. 

Luo Huining:  Luo Huining is the director of the Central Government Liaison Office, which is the Chinese government’s most important office in Hong Kong.  Under Luo’s leadership, the Office has taken a number of actions to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, including issuing statements asserting its authority to supervise Hong Kong’s internal affairs in contradiction to the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.  Luo is also the National Security Advisor to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).  The Committee was established under the National Security Law with the primary responsibility for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong; it is under the supervision of and accountable to the Central Government.   

Carrie Lam:  Carrie Lam is the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.  Lam signed the National Security Law into effect in June 2020. As the Chief Executive, she is also the Chair of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR and oversees the work of the Committee.  Lam has invoked emergency powers to restrict the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including postponing the September 2020 Legislative Council elections for one year.   

Teresa Cheng:  Teresa Cheng is the Secretary for Justice and a principal legal advisor to Chief Executive Carrie Lam.  She is leading the Department of Justice’s work to implement the National Security Law, including establishing a dedicated unit to handle prosecutions under the Law and filing charges again protestors and opposition politicians.   

Erick Tsang:  Erick Tsang is the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs and head of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, which is responsible for overseeing the full and faithful implementation of the Basic Law.  The National Security Law has been included in an annex to the Basic Law of the HKSAR.  Through his supervision of the Bureau, Tsang has promoted implementation of the National Security Law 

Zheng Yanxiong:  Zheng Yanxiong, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Guangdong Provincial Committee, is the head of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central Government in Hong Kong.  The Office was created under the National Security Law and is responsible for overseeing law-enforcement mechanisms and coordinating the central government’s ultimate responsibilities over security matters in the city.   

Eric Chan:  Eric Chan is the Secretary-General of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR.  As Secretary-General, he heads the secretariat established under the Committee.  At the Committee’s first meeting, it created relevant implementation rules for law enforcement agencies to carry out the measures stipulated under Article 43 of the National Security Law, outlining measures law enforcement authorities may take.   

John Lee:  John Lee is Secretary for Security and the head of the Security Bureau, which includes the Hong Kong Police Force.  As Secretary for Security, John Lee is responsible for security-related policies in Hong Kong, including the maintenance of law and order.  Under his oversight, the Hong Kong Police have set up a dedicated unit to enforce the National Security Law, which has arrested protestors and activists.    

Chris Tang:  Chris Tang is the Commissioner of Police in Hong Kong.  Under his leadership, the Hong Kong Police Force has invoked the National Security Law to arrest pro-democracy activists, including 10 who were arrested within 24 hours of the Law taking effect.  Tang is also a member of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR.

Publication of FAQs related to a report pursuant to section 5(a) of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act; Hong Kong-related Designation Updates

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20201014