Published: 09:46, January 8, 2021 | Updated: 05:51, June 5, 2023
HK bigwigs slam US politicians' double standards
By Gang Wen

Workers repair a crowd control fence around Capitol Hill a day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the US Capitol on Jan 7, 2021, in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

Political  heavyweights  in  Hong Kong on Thursday denounced the hypocrisy and double standards certain Western politicians demonstrated with the contrast in attitudes toward violence and rioting in  Washington  on  Wednesday against  that  which  occurred  in Hong Kong in 2019. 

They argue that the current situation in the United States shows the  importance of maintaining national security and social stability, saying this is exactly what Hong Kong pursued when it enacted the National Security Law on June 30. 

Former Hong Kong Legislative Council president Rita Fan  Hsu  Lai­tai  described  what some US politicians had said was “a very good illustration of double standards”

They took note of  the U­turn made after US politicians condemned the eruption of violence when  hundreds of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building to try and prevent the Congress from ratifying President­elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Nov 3 election. 

Hours after the siege had ended, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for justice to be brought against criminals who engaged in the rioting. 

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“Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable,” he said on Twitter. While  feeling  saddened  by  the violent  clashes,  which  saw  four people killed, former Hong Kong Legislative Council president Rita Fan  Hsu  Lai­tai  described  what some US politicians had said was “a very good illustration of double standards”. 

She  recalled  the  situation  in Hong Kong in July 2019, when US politicians described the destructive  and  indiscriminative  actions of rioters as being those of “freedom fighters”. 

“Now the same thing has happened to them. Now, they have demanded that all these people have to be arrested,” Fan said. Following the violent storming of Capitol Hill, Speaker of the US House of  Representatives Nancy Pelosi described the attack in Washington as “a shameful assault … on our democracy” as intruders broke into her office in the Capitol. 

In November 2019, when around 5,800 people had been arrested in Hong Kong for their role in six months of violent protests, Pelosi said their “extraordinary outpouring  of  courage”  has  “stirred  the hearts  of  all  freedom­loving  people”,  in  a  statement  supporting Trump’s  signing  the  bipartisan Hong  Kong  Human  Rights  and Democracy  Act.  

The  federal  law requires the US  government  to impose sanctions against Chinese mainland and Hong Kong officials it considers responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong and requires the US  Department  of State and other agencies to conduct an  annual  review  to  determine whether  changes  in  Hong  Kong’s political status justify changing the favorable  trade  relations  between the US and Hong Kong. 

Fan noted that the latest events in Washington will give US politicians the chance to understand the professional and restrained efforts of Hong Kong’s authorities in curbing violence. Fan’s words were echoed by Ronny Tong Ka­wah, a senior counsel in the city. 

He finds it hypocritical for  politicians  to  criticize  the National Security Law as unjustified  or  even  evil,  because  all nations and regions require a law and provisions to safeguard their safety and body of power. 

Tong said he did not hear any accusation from the Western media or politicians that the police were  acting  brutally against the rioters or that the people who stormed Capitol Hill were described as democratic fighters or heroes. 

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“In particular, when you look at Article  22  (of  the  law),  which strives  to  prevent  people  from storming into the LegCo (the Legislative  Council  in  Hong  Kong), destroying the LegCo and preventing  the  LegCo  from  functioning. 

All these provisions are necessary in order to safeguard the safety of the nation. This is precisely what is happening in the United States,” he said.

 Both Fan and Tong praised Hong Kong’s police for handling the prolonged social unrest professionally and in a restrained manner, as they managed to avoid any fatalities during the clashes. 

The sole fatality during six months of riots in Hong Kong was that of a 70­ year ­old government contracted cleaner, who died from head injuries sustained on Nov 14, 2019, after he was hit by a brick allegedly thrown by protesters during a violent clash.