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The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

Fifth Estate

Sanctioned by the US? It is an honor!

By Zhang Zhouxiang | chinadaily

On Wednesday, the US Department of State announced “sanctions” against 24 Chinese officials, including 14 vice-chairs of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, threatening harsher penalties against foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant transactions for them.

The reason of this move, as always, is the improvement of the electoral system in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The move by China’s top legislature to further improve democracy in Hong Kong for its long-term prosperity and stability is distorted by the Department of State as “undermining the autonomy” of the Hong Kong SAR.

Is there anything more ridiculous than this? When the top Chinese legislature took the legislative step to plug the loopholes in the electoral system of a Chinese region, US politicians jumped up to blame China. Do they think they know more about democracy in a Chinese region than the Chinese?

And have they forgotten how their consulate officials in Hong Kong were photographed talking with riot leaders and guiding the latter during the 2019 riots there? Some US politicians tried to steal democracy from the Hong Kong people like thieves, and when the victim mended its fence to avoid further losses, the thieves become robbers, waving the century-old, rotten club with “sanctions” carved on it.

If some US politicians dream of forcing China to give up improving Hong Kong democracy with that rotten club, they’d better wake up. To quote Zhang Xiaoming, who as deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office had already been put on an earlier US sanctions list, he and his colleagues feel “deeply honored” to be sanctioned by the US.

For everyone “sanctioned”, the move by the US is a medal that records his or her contributions to the progress of democracy in Hong Kong. The sanctions list published by the US Department of State is a list of credit that shows the whole world who are working for Hong Kong people’s good.

Some analysts also point out that US politicians took this foolish move shortly before the Sino-US high-level strategic dialogue to be held on Thursday and Friday in Anchorage, Alaska. Maybe they hope to “pressure” China in the talks, but their efforts are doomed to fail and will only poison the efforts of bringing bilateral relations back to the right track.

The US’ sanctions, an update to a previous act, will only prompt China to take proper countermeasures. If US politicians want to improve bilateral relations, they should take some sincere, friendly steps, instead of resorting to old, failing tricks.

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