The US has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong officials, including the pro-China leader of the government, Carrie Lam, accusing them of roles in squashing freedom in the former British colony.
The Treasury Department sanctions are the latest in a string of actions the Trump administration has taken targeting China as tensions between the two nations rise over trade disputes and coronavirus.
An executive order that President Donald Trump signed recently to levy penalties against China for its efforts to curtail anti-government protesters in Hong Kong authorised the sanctions.
Hong Kong has long enjoyed civil liberties not seen elsewhere in mainland China because it is governed under a “one country, two systems” principle in place since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.
But Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong earlier this year, raising widespread concerns about the Chinese government cracking down on the anti-government protests.