"The White House claimed it would impose sanctions on China, but the tools and resources at its disposal are fewer than those it could mobilize before the [coronavirus] outbreak," China's state-run Global Times published Monday. "It is only bluffing."
China has come under heavy criticism after proposing legislation, known as the Basic Law, last week that would ban the secessionist and subversive activity in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Pro-democracy advocates say the security rules could halt protests similar to the demonstrations that besieged Hong Kong last year over Beijing's growing influence.
They say it goes against the "one country, two systems" framework that promises freedoms to residents in Hong Kong not available to Chinese citizens in the mainland.
The demonstrations sometimes erupted in violence and evoked a heavy-handed response by authorities.
"As the US is entangled in the COVID-19 epidemic, its actual ability to intervene externally is weakening," the editorial said.
In addition, it said U.S. sanctions against China would be futile.
"The special trade status given by the U.S. is important, but is not a decisive factor to determine whether Hong Kong is a financial center or not. As long as the economy in the Chinese mainland keeps booming, Hong Kong will not decline," according to the report.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the proposed law last week, saying it would “a death knell for the high degree of autonomy” promised by Beijing when the former British colony was returned to China more than two decades ago.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.