Hong Kong leader accuses US of 'double standards' over protests

WION Web Team Hong Kong Jun 02, 2020, 12.48 PM(IST)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, wearing a mask due to the ongoing global outbreak of the coronavirus, speaks during a news conference over the new national security legislation in Hong Kong, China June 2, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Both Chinese and Hong Kong officials have seized on the unrest gripping the US in their propaganda drive to justify their own crackdown on pro-democracy protests and the national security law plans.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam accused foreign governments on Tuesday of "double standards" in their reaction to Beijing's plans to impose national security laws on the city, pointing to anti-police brutality protests in the United States.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has been rocked by months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests over the past year, which riot police have stamped out with more than 9,000 arrests.

Also read: 'Hong Kong rioters have infiltrated American states': China hits out at US over George Floyd protests

Washington has been critical of Hong Kong's response to the demonstrations with US President Donald Trump last week vowing to end the city's special trading status after Beijing announced plans to impose a sweeping national security law on the business hub.

In her first public appearance after Washington said it will remove Hong Kong's preferential treatment in US law in response to Beijing's plans, Lam warned countries threatening actions against the city that they may hurt their own interests.

Also read: Hong Kong warns US to stop interfering; calls withdrawing special US status double-edged sword

"They are very concerned about their own national security, but on our national security...they look through tinted glasses," Lam told a weekly news conference.

"In the US., we see how the riots were being handled by the local governments, compared to the stance they adopted when almost the same riots happened in Hong Kong last year."

"We have seen most clearly in recent weeks the double standards that are around," Lam, who was selected as city leader by a pro-Beijing committee, told reporters.

"You know there are riots in the United States and we see how local governments reacted. And then in Hong Kong, when we had similar riots, we saw what position they adopted then."

Both Chinese and Hong Kong officials have seized on the unrest gripping the US in their propaganda drive to justify their own crackdown on pro-democracy protests and the national security law plans.

Having lost patience with Hong Kong after large-scale and often-violent pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled city last year, Beijing authorities last month advanced plans to introduce laws tackling secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.

The laws could also see Chinese intelligence agencies set up shop in the global financial hub.

U.S. President Donald Trump, saying Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from Beijing as promised at the time of the 1997 handover of the territory by Britain, said Hong Kong will no longer be treated differently from China in U.S. law.

Hong Kong and Beijing authorities insist rights and freedoms will be preserved, remarks echoed by Lam on Tuesday. She said "public concerns" about the legislation were understandable as a draft was yet to be finalised.