Hong Kong Executive Uses U.S. Protests to Accuse Critics of ‘Double Standards’

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to a question from a journalist during a news conference at the Office of the Chief Executive in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Lam said the city faces multiple challenges in the new year, including “violence, economic tribulation and a health scare" …
Andy Wong/AP Photo

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday used the riots in the United States to accuse her critics of having “double standards” for criticizing the way her administration, and the Chinese Communist government in Beijing, have handled the Hong Kong protest movement.

“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,” she said.

“They are very concerned about their own national security, but on our national security … they look through tinted glasses,” Lam said of her critics, and those opposed to Beijing’s plan to impose a draconian national security law on Hong Kong, at a news conference reported by Reuters.

“In the U.S., 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,” Lam continued.

Lam said residents of Hong Kong are “living in fear” as protests against her administration and the Chinese government continue.

“Some ask whether Hong Kong is still a city with the rule of law, or whether it is rule of fear,” she said.

As for Beijing’s plan to impose a security law, Lam quoted former Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping’s assertion that “there are some things Hong Kong can’t solve without the central government.”

The United States formally announced that Hong Kong is no longer considered autonomous from China last week since Beijing is sweeping the Hong Kong legislature aside to impose a security law that will make it easier to crack down on demonstrators. 

President Donald Trump said on Friday that many Hong Kong’s special trade privileges will be rescinded as the island is no longer considered meaningfully separate from China. The U.S. State Department said travel advisories would be adjusted to “reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus.”

Lam insisted “public concerns” about the Chinese security law would be addressed and announced she plans to travel to Beijing on Wednesday to offer her own input, accompanied by several of her top officials. She admitted in the course of these comments that she does not actually know what the national security law will contain since only “draft legislation” has been prepared at the moment.

In an interview with the China Media Group on Tuesday, Lam expressed full support for the national security law that has not been written yet, and said it was necessary for Beijing to impose order because her own legislature was incapable of fulfilling its responsibilities.

“An acting national security legislation is always the proactive of the central government, regardless of whether that particular country practices unitary type of government or federal type of government,” she said, rejecting charges by the Hong Kong Bar Association that the central government would violate the island’s Basic Law by bypassing its legislature.

The tightening fist of Beijing is already being felt in Hong Kong, despite Lam’s reassurances to the contrary. The annual June 4 vigil to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre was canceled for the first time since 1990, for example, ostensibly because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) insists the Tiananmen massacre did not happen and forbids its subjects from discussing the event. 

Defiant Hong Kongers said they would still hold their vigils, make the police break them up, and then hold smaller events across the city, urging people around the world to light candles and post on social media to remember the Tiananmen victims.

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