US imposes sanctions on Hong Kong chief executive
The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and 10 other top officials from Hong Kong and mainland China.
The sanctions were used to target those undermining Hong Kong's autonomy, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong," Mr Mnuchin added.
The move comes weeks after China imposed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong, which critics say threatens its freedoms.
US-China tensions continue to escalate. Earlier this week, the Trump administration moved to ban US transactions with the Chinese owners of the WeChat and TikTok apps..
Among those sanctioned are Hong Kong's police commissioner and several political secretaries.
The US Treasury directly accused Ms Lam of "implementing Beijing's policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes".
"In 2019, Lam pushed for an update to Hong Kong's extradition arrangements to allow for extradition to the mainland, setting off a series of massive opposition demonstrations in Hong Kong," the US Treasury added in a statement.
On Saturday, the Hong Kong government branded the move "blatant and barbaric interference in the internal affairs of the People's Republic of China, using Hong Kong as a pawn".
Ms Lam's spokesman said she would not be "intimidated".
"Speaking on behalf of her senior colleagues who are being targeted, the Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam said that we are discharging an honourable duty to safeguard national security, protecting the life and interests of not only the 7.5 million Hong Kong people but also the 1.4 billion Mainlanders."
Luo Huining, Beijing's representative in Hong Kong, is among those sanctioned. He said the measures were ridiculous.
Hong Kong Commerce Secretary Edward Yau called the sanctions disproportionate and warned of retaliation against US businesses in the region.
The 11 sanctioned officials will have all property in the US seized and financial assets frozen.