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

House votes to ban U.S. products made with forced labor in Xinjiang

The Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in China's western Xinjiang region. Photo: GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday voted 406-3 in favor of a bill to ban products made with forced labor in China's mass detention camps.

Why it matters: The U.S. has ramped up pressure recently on China to address human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has engaged in a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Sep 22, 2020 - World

Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,642,602 — Total deaths: 1,007,769 — Total recoveries: 23,387,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,191,061 — Total deaths: 205,998 — Total recoveries: 2,813,305 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic