The Biden administration issued a blanket warning Friday to U.S. firms about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong as China continues to clamp down on political and economic freedoms in the territory.
Watch the briefing in the video player above.
Four Cabinet agencies – the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security – released the nine-page advisory that alerts companies about the shifting legal landscape in Hong Kong and the possibility that engaging with Hong Kong business could incur reputational and legal damages.
At the same time, Treasury announced sanctions against seven Chinese officials for violating the terms of the 2020 Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which calls for asset freezes and other penalties against those who participate in the crackdown.
Speaking at the White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “the bottom line is that businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong.”
Psaki said the administration wants businesses operating in Hong Kong “to be aware of the use of data, accessing of data inappropriately, of the restriction of information. And they should be aware of that happening in Hong Kong as well as in mainland China.”
The press secretary was also asked about Taliban advances in Afghanistan as the U.S. troop withdrawal becomes nearly complete.
Psaki said President Joe Biden believes that “it is not inevitable” that the Taliban takes over the country, but she warned that its future rests with the people and government of Afghanistan.
“It is up to them to determine are they going to unite as a country? Are they going to stand up and fight against the Taliban?” Psaki said, adding, “it’s really in their hands and will be in their hands moving forward.”
She said the White House is continuing to provide a “great deal of support, supplies, and training” even after troops have left the country.
The Taliban have overrun dozens of districts in Afghanistan since the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops, after a 20-year military presence.