HK vows it won't be intimidated by U.S. sanctions

Beijing's top representatives in Hong Kong said on Saturday (August 8) that sanctions imposed by Washington on senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials were "clowning actions".

Separately, the Hong Kong government said the sanctions were quote "shameless and despicable."

"We will not be intimidated," a government spokesman said.

The United States on Friday (August 7) imposed sanctions on Luo Huining, the head of China’s Liaison Office, as well as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other current and former officials.

Washington accuses these officials of curtailing political freedoms in the global financial hub.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of the officials, prohibit them from carrying out business in the country and generally bar Americans from doing business with them.

The move accelerates rapidly deteriorating Sino-U.S. ties, more than a month after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on Hong Kong.

Hong Kong financial regulators moved to calm market fears on Saturday, as banks in the city grappled with the implications of the sanctions.

The markets watchdog said it was not aware of any aspect of the sanctions that would affect how financial firms carry out their normal operations in the city.

While some Hong Kong residents fear for the economic implications of the move, some welcome the news.

"I think for me personally, actually not at all. Actually, I am so excited. I am so happy with the results (sanctions). Because I think it is kind of a justice in Hong Kong."

Beijing imposed the legislation directly on Hong Kong just before midnight on June 30, bypassing the Hong Kong legislature.

Some analysts say this signals the start of a more authoritarian rule in the semi-autonomous city and march toward mainland control.

Beijing and the Hong Kong government have said the law will not affect rights and freedoms, and that it is needed to plug security loopholes.

Some Hong Kong people have fled the city to set up home overseas, while immigration consultants have reported a surge in inquiries of people looking to leave.