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Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.

  • The Treasury noted sanctions against Lam are due to her "implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes."
  • A group of other top Hong Kong and mainland China officials were also included in the list of sanctions.
  • The sanctions target any U.S. holdings or property owned by the sanctioned individuals or any companies they own, per the announcement.

The big picture: The Trump administration in recent weeks has gone after individuals and entities that human rights advocates have long condemned as complicit in China’s massive human rights violations, including Xinjiang's party secretary and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Between the lines: The move also comes as the U.S. and China are locked in an ongoing trade dispute — and while President Trump is battling it out over the Chinese-owned app TikTok.

Go deeper

Nov 12, 2020 - World

The China tech selloff pauses

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech stocks rebounded slightly in China after Wednesday’s selloff that had been prompted by new antitrust rules proposed by Chinese regulators.

Why it matters: The regulations could limit the power of China’s biggest tech companies. By the FT’s math, the country’s tech sector lost $290 billion in value in the space of two days.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."