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Hong Kong Leader Slams ‘Double Standards’ on National Security, Cites US Unrest

Tuesday 2 June 2020
Hong Kong Leader Slams ‘Double Standards’ on National Security, Cites US Unrest

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has accused Western governments of exercising “double standards” in their response to a national security law recently passed by the city’s parliament, citing the ongoing suppression of protests in the United States against police brutality.

“They are very concerned about their own national security, but on our national security… they look through tinted glasses,” Lam said during her weekly press conference on Tuesday as she made her first public comments following Washington’s announcement on Saturday that it would remove Hong Kong’s preferential treatment in US law.

Pointing to the spread of angry protests across the United States in the aftermath of the police killing of another African American man in Minneapolis, Lam said, “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.”

She warned countries threatening action against Hong Kong that they might end up damaging their own interests.

The US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and the European Union (EU) have harshly criticized the security law for China’s key financial hub, which used to be run as a British colony until it was handed back to China in 1997, claiming that the newly-approved bill would undermine the city’s autonomy and the “one country, two systems” principle, established at the time.

The development came just days after US President Donald Trump blasted China over the passage of the national security law in Hong Kong, claiming that Beijing had broken its word regarding the city’s autonomy and asserting that the territory no longer warranted US economic privileges.

Hong Kong’s legislature debated and passed the Beijing-proposed law last Wednesday, potentially criminalizing sedition, secession, and subversion.

The bill also requires that China’s national anthem — known as “March of the Volunteers” — be taught in schools and sung by organizations, and imposes jail terms or fines against those who disrespect it.

Despite Western criticism, however, Beijing insists that the new law does not pose a threat to Hong Kong’s autonomy and the interests of foreign investors, noting that it is merely meant to prevent terrorism and foreign interference there, which were evident in violent, Western-backed protest rallies and riots there against the government.

The legislation revived protests in Hong Kong last month, prompting police to fire pepper pellets in the heart of the financial district and make hundreds of arrests.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong police this week rejected for the first time in three decades an application to hold an annual vigil on June 4 to mark the anniversary of Chinese troops opening fire on protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, citing coronavirus concerns after new local transmissions were reported in the city.

Lam has repeatedly said a ban on gatherings larger than eight people is meant to maintain social distancing and had no political overtones.

 

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Hong Kong US Unrest

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