On Sunday afternoon, the Chinese-controlled Hong Kong police announced it had arrested 180 demonstrators who were protesting Beijing’s announcement last week that it was severely curtailing Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Within 15 days, President Donad Trump is expected to respond with the announcement of stiff sanctions on individuals within the Chinese government who are responsible for the latest crackdown on Hong Kong protesters.
The list of those who will be sanctioned, administration sources told Newsmax, could easily include Chinese President Xi JinPing.
Should Xi be singled out for punishment, he would face bans on travel or any financial transactions with the U.S. These sanctions, which are contained in the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 (H.R. 3289), are based on the Magnitsky Act — the 2012 measure designed to punish Russian officials for the mysterious death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
“At a minimum, no-one deserves Magnitsky sanctions more than Xi — for his brutality, pervasive use of torture and persecution of believers,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Newsmax on Sunday.
Smith, the primary author of the Hong Kong Human Rights legislation signed by President Trump last year, also condemned Xi for “a willful and gross negligence in not conveying accurate and timely virus information to an all-too-malleable World Health Organization director -general that enabled a pandemic”
“Xi should be at the Hague for crimes against humanity,” Smith added.
The Hong Kong Human Rights legislation empowers the president, within a 15-day period and based on the recommendations of the key congressional committees, to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for the assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy in the form of bans on financial transactions with or travel to the United States.
The Obama administration applied Magnitsky sanctions to 16 Russian officials and the Trump administration added five others to the list of those barred from travel to and financial transactions with the U.S.
In 2014, there was widespread discussion in the Obama administration and among numerous members of Congress about applying sanctions to Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s annexation of Crimea. No action was ever taken.
Whether the Trump administration goes the further step and places sanctions on Xi over the Hong Kong crackdown will be one of the most provocative sagas of foreign policy in the coming weeks.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. Read John Gizzi's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.