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The Hong Kong Democracy Council has been a long term advocate for targeted sanctions in Hong Kong. Unlike broader sanctions, embargoes or tariffs on a territory or country, the targeted sanctions of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 are more specific: the individuals who are “responsible for undermining fundamental freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong” can be penalized, have their visas revoked or rejected, and assets seized. Many previous versions of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act lacked this sanctioning provision, depriving the US Administration of leverage over violators.

What we have done

Additional legislation, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, broadened this sanctioning power, expanding it to entities rather than just individuals. Members of the Hong Kong Democracy Council recognized broad, non-targeted sanctions packages would not pass Congress and advocated for targeted sanctions that prevent specific authoritarians from freely navigating the international community. Carrie Lam and John Lee were some of the first sanctioned individuals, but with the National Security Law being used to stifle Hong Kong, various lawyers and judges are also facing possible sanctions.

What we are doing

The Hong Kong Democracy Council actively advocated to members of the State Department to ensure individuals who are violating Hong Kong’s autonomy are held fully accountable. The Hong Kong Democracy Council endorsed a sanctions list officially presented by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to the Biden Administration. We will continue to fight for targeted sanctions for those who violate the freedom and rights of the people of Hong Kong.


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