On August 20, the Chinese regime decided to postpone the decision on Hong Kong’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, a law Beijing uses to retaliate against Western-imposed sanctions.
On Friday, China’s rubber-stamp legislature was expected to formally approve the law for the Chinese-ruled city in response to foreign governments’ actions amid escalating geopolitical tensions.
The vote, however, has been postponed for the time being while research into the matter continues, according to local public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong, citing Tam Yiu-chung, the city’s sole delegate to the regime’s rubber-stamp legislature.
Tan responded to inquiries from local media outlets on Friday, saying that the move would “make the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law even more effective.”
State-controlled media Xinhua news also did not mention any legal decisions.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Hong Kong government stated that it “fully supports and executes any such decisions” made by Beijing in response. It did not, however, provide any explanations for the delay.
On June 10, the Chinese regime enacted the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, which requires all individuals and organizations in China, regardless of citizenship, to follow Beijing’s countermeasures to foreign-imposed sanctions.
Individuals’ visas may be denied or expulsed, assets in China may be frozen or seized, and Chinese entities or people may be barred from doing business with those involved.
The Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, is expected to protect the city’s independent judiciary under the communist regime’s pledge. Unless it is included in an annex to the constitution, Mainland Chinese law does not apply in the Beijing-ruled city.
At a press conference on August 17, Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated that Beijing intends to extend the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to the financial hub, incorporating it into an annex of the Basic Law. Lam stated that she does not have an explicit deadline for implementation, but multinational corporations are concerned about the impact on their operations.
Foreign banks and financial institutions would be forced to choose between violating US laws by complying with them and violating the regime’s laws by complying with US orders under the proposed law.
The US had warned multinational corporations with operations in Hong Kong that the regime may force them to comply with Beijing’s retaliation. When Beijing enacted the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, the measures could be used “against companies that comply with sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries.”
In 2020, the Chinese regime imposed laws directly from its rubber-stamp legislature, including the national security law and legislative election reforms, sparking local citizen protests and foreign sanctions.
The US imposed additional sanctions and warnings against US companies doing business with regime and Hong Kong officials and institutions accused of enforcing national security laws and violating human rights in China’s far-western Xinjiang region.