As the People’s Republic of China moved to draft a new national security law for Hong Kong last month, US President Donald Trump accused Beijing of “smothering” the semi-autonomous city.
“They broke their word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong," Trump said on May 29. While Hong Kong was seized from China by the British in 1841 and ruled until 1997, it was returned via treaty to Beijing’s control, albeit with special provisions protecting certain parts of its political and legal system for decades after reunion.
The new law comes after monthslong destructive protests in Hong Kong against further incorporation into China that were fueled by Western support. However, while Washington extensively criticized the Hong Kong police’s handling of the protests, now the US is seeing its own mass demonstrations and meeting them with even greater repressive force.
“For some countries that have had a high-profile response and claimed they will take action, I can only describe them as upholding double standards,” Lam said at a Tuesday news conference. “They value very much their own national security but are biased in viewing ours.”
“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,” Lam noted.
More than 20,000 National Guard troops have been mobilized in several US states, and the brutal way in which the troops as well as police forces have treated not only protesters, but also passers-by and even members of the press, has been widely documented.
The protests in Hong Kong last year began after a new extradition treaty with China was proposed after a Hong Kong man murdered his pregnant girlfriend during a trip to Taiwan, but city authorities had no way of transferring the man’s case to Taipei or several other jurisdictions, including mainland China itself. The protests in the US began last week after a black man named George Floyd died in police custody as a result of being tackled to the ground by four white Minneapolis police officers, one of whom held his knee on Floyd’s throat until he died.