US warns banks as it appoints five more Chinese officials under Hong Kong law

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Signage is visible at the headquarters of the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC, United States, August 29, 2020. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly / File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Dec.20 (Reuters) – The United States on Monday appointed five already sanctioned Chinese officials who it said helped undermine Hong Kong’s democracy and warned foreign financial institutions that do business with them would be liable sanctions.

A biannual State Department report to Congress named the five men Chen Dong, He Jing, Lu Xinning, Tan Tienui and Yin Zonghua, all deputy directors of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Naming the five has brought the number of officials so designated under the U.S. Hong Kong Self-Government Act to 39 since October last year. Read more

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“Foreign financial institutions that knowingly engage in material transactions with the individuals listed in today’s report are subject to sanctions,” the State Department said, releasing an updated report to Congress required by law.

He said the report underlined “deep concerns about Beijing’s clear efforts to deprive Hong Kong people of a meaningful voice” in the Dec. 19 Legislative Council elections. Read more

The United States has so far not sanctioned any foreign financial institution for doing business with the appointees under Hong Kong law, which became law last year.

Financial institutions found in violation of the law could be subject to so-called secondary sanctions, including restrictions on US loans, foreign exchange, real estate transactions, exports and transfers, in addition to actions against executives.

By law, the US Treasury is required to identify such an institution between 30 and 60 days after the report is submitted to Congress.

The five people named on Monday were among seven Chinese officials sanctioned in July for China’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. Read more

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Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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