Local | Michael Shum 9 Jun 2021

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has thrown her support behind Beijing’s move to introduce a law countering foreign sanctions, which is expected to pass tomorrow.

This came after claims that Lam caused Hong Kong to be sanctioned, as she ignored public sentiment over the now-shelved fugitive amendment bill.

At a press briefing ahead of the Executive Council meeting yesterday, Lam sidestepped questions on the criticisms, but referred to news of Beijing’s move to formulate laws to counter “discriminatory measures by a foreign country.”

Lam said: “In regards to these sanctions, the SAR government has some first-hand experience. Therefore, we extremely welcome and support China setting up a law to counter foreign sanctions, which provides legal basis for tit-for-tat sanctions in the future.”

She said the law is for countering foreign sanctions rather than taking the initiative to sanction other countries.

Xinhua News Agency said the draft legislation was tabled to the National People’s Congress standing committee for deliberation on Monday and is expected to be passed tomorrow.

The committee’s legislative affairs commission said some Western countries have imposed sanctions on China to “grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs,” and countermeasures have been rolled out to safeguard national sovereignty, dignity and core interests. Lam, alongside 11 mainland and Hong Kong officials, were sanctioned by the United States in August for undermining the SAR’s autonomy.

Meanwhile, the government will continue to invite foreign judges to sit on the SAR’s top court, Lam said, after a British nonpermanent judge said she does not want to be reappointed after her term ends in July.

“I deeply believe that the rule of law in Hong Kong is rock solid, and the chief justice will continue inviting foreign judges to serve Hong Kong if needed in the future,” Lam said.

A nonpermanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal, Brenda Hale, said earlier that “there are all sorts of question marks up in the air” with the imposition of the national security law.

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