Chinese propagandists quickly jumped on the Minneapolis riots to score political points against the United States, comparing the riots to the Hong Kong protests and behaving as if China has a lighter touch when dealing with civil unrest than President Donald Trump because Trump said in a tweet that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
The editor of the state-run Global Times, Hu Xijin, quickly jumped on President Trump’s tweet:
Just three days after unrest broke out in Minnesota, Trump threatened the use of "shooting" and announced the army supports the governor. I strongly condemn such threats. Please protect the people of Minnesota, just like you sympathize with Hong Kong thugs. pic.twitter.com/iemDDFTGMP
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 29, 2020
He was equally quick to compare the Hong Kong protests to the Minneapolis riots and suggest critics of the national security law Beijing is preparing to impose on the island, ending its two-and-a-half decades of limited autonomy, are hypocrites:
Isn't the protest in Hong Kong tonight much more violent than the protest in Minnesota? Shouldn't the Hong Kong police stop such violent protests? Doesn't Hong Kong, being messed up like this, need a national security law? pic.twitter.com/ec9PmdjWOt
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) May 27, 2020
Hu posted these messages on Twitter despite the fact that it is illegal for Chinese citizens within the country to use the American platform. Twitter did not fact check Hu’s claim that Hong Kong’s largely peaceful pro-democracy movement is “much more violent” than the riots in Minnesota.
Hu expounded on this idea at length in a Friday editorial at the Global Times:
Hong Kong’s rioters and police should carefully watch how the “democratic US” deals with the chaos in Minnesota.
After the tragic death of African-American George Floyd following violent police treatment, enraged protesters in Minneapolis rushed to the city’s police building, where a fire later broke out. US President Donald Trump then began to feel uneasy. He sent out a tweet early Friday morning (US time), saying, “I can’t stand back & watch this happen.” He instructed Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to “get his act together and bring the city under control,” saying the alternative was that he would send in the National Guard and “get the job done right.”
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday condemned the killings of many unarmed African Americans at the hands of the police over the years. She said that US authorities must take serious action to stop such killings and to ensure that justice is done when they do occur.
Hu folded this into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) boilerplate effort to claim its handling of the Wuhan coronavirus was supposedly superior to the United States, a narrative sustained by the CCP’s endless lies about how many coronavirus cases it had and continues to have.
“In the U.S., more than 100,000 people have died from COVID-19, most of them weak, elderly, poor and minorities. The death of George Floyd, from another perspective, reveals the desperate inequality rampant in the U.S.,” he wrote.
Left unmentioned by the Chinese propagandist was that one of the major differences between Minneapolis and Hong Kong is that residents of the former are legally allowed to protest, and they get to vote for leaders whose power is restrained by constitutional law. The people of Hong Kong are the captives of a brutal tyranny that began chipping away at the legal and democratic protection bequeathed to them under British colonial rule as soon as the ink was dry on the transfer of ownership papers.
It matters a great deal that in Hong Kong, the Chinese government is the greatest threat to the citizens, and they rose up because every avenue for peacefully defending their rights within the system was foreclosed.