The Western press went radically schizophrenic again, when Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor declared that the Sept 6 legislative election in the SAR would be postponed by one year. Right away, she offered a rational explanation:
“If we have 3 million voters going out in one day across Hong Kong, such flow of people would cause a high risk of infection.”
Fair enough. But while COVID-19 can justify just about any action taken by the West and also by countries that are closely associated with the West, it is constantly used against the Chinese mainland and HKSAR.
Irrational double standards are continually used.
Whether the elections were to be held or not, attacks against Lam and Beijing were planned to continue. They were clearly launched at the behest of the Western establishment.
We will return later to “criticism of postponement of the elections”, but first, let us see what was written just a few hours earlier when all major Western media outlets still thought that the election would take place as scheduled.
On July 31, CNN published bizarre comments:
“Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the city’s de facto constitution, prospective legislators must swear to ‘uphold’ the constitution, a declaration that has been largely procedural in the past.
“But citing a court case in 2016 barring a pro-independence candidate, the government said in a statement that vowing to ‘uphold’ the Basic Law denotes not just compliance with it, but also an intention to support, promote, and embrace it.”
First of all, “upholding the constitution” is a fundamental and essential condition for any prospective legislator in any democracy in the world. And not only for a legislator. As we all know, in the United States, the president of the nation, when sworn in, puts his hand on the Bible (isn’t that “a bit too extreme” and “exclusive”, especially for those citizens who are not Christian?) and solemnly swears that he will be upholding and defending the Constitution of his country.
Second, some readers can probably overlook certain parts of the text, but this time they should come back to them and read carefully: “barring a pro-independence candidate”. CNN is obviously criticizing the HKSAR for not allowing participation of separatists in the elections! It is hard to believe, and difficult not to call it hypocrisy, given the fact that almost anywhere in North America and Europe, separatism is not tolerated, and in fact, harshly punishable. Just think about Spain (Catalonia) or France (Corsica). Striving for separatism, which is ignited and then supported and financed by foreign interests and foreign powers, would be considered treason and punished extremely harshly. As, let us not forget, each Western country has its own national security law.
But bashing China and its territories, by all means available, became such a norm in Western mass media that almost nobody is scrutinizing details of such “analyses” anymore. Baseless or thoroughly exaggerated criticism of everything Chinese became synonymous with a fast-track to career advancement, at least in the fields of journalism. Thousands of scribes are now involved. It is a career. There is something “religious”, even “fundamentalist” in the anti-Beijing writing style. Logic is not required anymore. It is actually discouraged.
The title of the CNN article is: “Hong Kong is setting up an election without a real opposition.” “Real” means what? In the new Western propaganda lexicon, “real” means hard-core separatism, fundamentalist anti-communism and a radical anti-mainland stand.
Now back to the postponement of the legislative election.
Even The New York Times, known for (at least stylistically) more “elegant coverage”, produced a hawkish headline on July 31: “Hong Kong Delays Election, Citing Coronavirus. The Opposition Isn’t Buying It.”
So, first, the way elections were to be conducted was wrong; and now postponement of them became wicked. Western “analysts” reacted very, very fast.
Nothing new, of course. Suspicion is omnipresent when it comes to news coverage of the HKSAR and the Chinese mainland by Western media outlets. Nothing short of total surrender would be accepted or praised.
It is essential to confront Western propaganda with the facts, again and again. It is a tiring, monotonous process, but there is no other way around it. Otherwise, all rationale will collapse. Therefore, let us continue with our labor.
This essay is written and sent from the Western Hemisphere, a part of the world that is most damaged by COVID-19. Elections here are either outrightly postponed, or postponement is at least discussed or considered as an option. Even US President Donald Trump is going back and forth on the issue. A Chilean referendum on constitutional changes was postponed, without much debate, due to COVID-19. Elections in Bolivia have been delayed again and again. And there, actually, the elections are crucial, as last year there was a US-backed coup which unseated enormously popular and successful indigenous President Evo Morales. Of course, you would not read much about all this in the Western media.
Western mass media take the COVID-19 argument for postponing elections in the Americas as something fundamentally legitimate. Because this fits the interests of Washington. There, yes; but what is taken as a norm elsewhere is never acceptable when it happens in China.
Why it is this way is clear: Again, it is not at all about logic or rationale. China has to be wrong, no matter what it does. Even when what it does is in line with the rest of the world. It is Kafkaesque, it is unfair, but it is part of a new normal constructed by the US leaders like Trump, Marco Rubio, Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Peter Navarro.
Lam and Beijing know perfectly well how to govern their territory and the entire country. They do not need Western boys and girls to tell them how. China is doing well, much better than the West, and it is clear and obvious. Everyone who “commutes” between China and the US is well aware of it. And China, including the HKSAR, would be doing even better if it would be left alone, not be antagonized, and be allowed to concentrate on what it is doing best — improving the lives of its people and the world.
The author is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS