HONG KONG: Beijing on Sunday appointed a new Hong Kong administration that includes four senior officials under US sanctions its incoming leader has decried as an attempt to “bully” China.

The United States hit 11 Hong Kong and Beijing officials with sanctions two years ago after a sweeping national security law was imposed to snuff out dissent in the semi-autonomous city following the massive, sometimes violent democracy protests of 2019.

Seven were members of the Hong Kong government, and four will continue in the new administration, including leader-in-waiting John Lee, security minister Chris Tang, mainland affairs minister Erick Tsang and newly appointed chief secretary for administration Eric Chan.

The other three sanctioned were retired police chief Steven Lo, outgoing city leader Carrie Lam and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, who will be replaced.

Under the sanctions, Lam has said she was forced to receive her salary in cash due to banking restrictions.

Introducing his new cabinet to reporters, Lee said he “scoffed at the so-called sanctions” and paid them no attention.

“Some countries of bullies tried to intimidate (Hong Kong) officials with measures like sanctions, especially after their plots to sabotage our national security failed because of the measures we deployed,” Lee said.

“This made us more determined in continuing to discharge our duties of defending national security.” Sunday’s appointment of 26 principal officials comes less than two weeks before the new government assumes office on July 1, the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer from British to Chinese rule and halfway point of the “One Country, Two Systems” political model.

Published in Dawn,June 20th, 2022

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