On Friday, the United States has imposed sanctions on a number of Chinese and Hong Kong officials including Chief Executive Carrie Lam amidst rising tensions between the two countries. 

According to a report, the executive orders which called for the sanctions have been signed by President Donald Trump last month in a move to penalize China for curtailing political freedom in the territory. 

The sanctions have been targetted at Hong Kong officials, namely: Chris Tang who is the current Commissioner of Police of the Hong Kong Police Force and his predecessor Stephen Lo; Security Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu, Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, China's top official Luo Huining, and Xia Baolong who heads the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing.

The U.S. Treasury Department remarked that the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing not only sabotaged Hong Kong's autonomy but also set the foundation for "censorship of any individuals or outlets that are deemed unfriendly to China" and said that Lam will be deemed primarily responsible for Beijing's suppression of freedom and democratic protocols. 

State Secretary Mike Pompeo had recently tweeted that it will not tolerate "brutal acts of oppression by the Chinese Communist Party or its enablers" and that the U.S. will continually "stand with the people of Hong Kong."

After Hong Kong engaged in huge protests in June, authorities issued warrants to exiled activists and delayed elections while giving reference to the pandemic. 

Reportedly, the executive order signed by Trump will block and suspend any U.S. assets of the named officials and will forbid Americans from engaging in business transactions concerning them and consequently implicating owners of Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok.

Peter Harrell who is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security commented that Trump's move to ban these businesses could cause complications among banks and perplex matters regarding U.S.-China relations.

Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Carrie Lam defended China's new national security law in a speech on Tuesday, May 26. Getty/ Anthony Wallace