Chinese Foreign Ministry Compares D.C. Riot to Hong Kong Protests

Protesters take part in a Universal Siege On Communists' rally at The Cenotaph in Central district on January 19, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong rally ahead of Lunar New Year to continue their demands for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the retraction of the …
Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday compared Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol with the Hong Kong protest movement, essentially arguing that Americans should now understand why it was correct and lawful for the Chinese Communist Party, and its proxies in Hong Kong government, to use force to crush the pro-democracy movement.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s comments were teed up by an AFP reporter who literally invited her to make the comparison. 

“Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any comments on the violence that has taken place? Separately, what are the ministry’s comments on some people in the country comparing Washington’s riots with the unrest in Hong Kong?” the reporter asked.

“We have noted what’s now unfolding in the United States. We believe that people in the United States certainly hope for an early return of normal order,” Hua replied.

After mentioning the reactions of “Chinese netizens” – a strong recurring theme in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda at the moment – Hua offered to “share some of my thoughts with you.” She proceeded to exploit the Capitol unrest for maximum political gain:

First, Chinese people have the right and freedom to make their opinions and comments online. I believe that for many people, seeing those scenes in the United States has brought back a sense of deja vu, though they brought out some quite different reactions from certain people in the United States, including from some media.

You mentioned the unrest in Hong Kong. On July 2019, radical and violent protesters in Hong Kong broke into the Legislative Council, ransacking the main chamber, smashing facilities, tossing toxic liquid and powder at police officers, and even biting off one police officer’s finger and stabbing another. But the Hong Kong police showed maximum restraint and professionalism and no protester ended in death. You mentioned that there were already four deaths in Washington in what was less violent and destructive than the case in Hong Kong.

If you still remember how some U.S. officials, lawmakers and media described what’s happened in Hong Kong, you can compare that with the words they’ve used to describe the scenes in Capitol Hill. I made a note of some words they used. They all condemned it as “a violent incident” and the people involved as “rioters”, “extremists” and “thugs” who brought “disgrace”. Now compare that with what the Hong Kong violent protesters were called, like “a beautiful sight” you brought up and “democratic heroes”. They said that “American people stand with them”.

“What’s the reason for such a stark difference in the choice of words? Everyone needs to seriously think about it and do some soul-searching on the reason,” she concluded.

China’s state-run Global Times built an editorial around Hua’s remarks, throwing in a few jabs at the Democrat Party to indict the entire American political system, and continuing the CCP’s obsession with the U.S. television show House of Cards as the perfect unflattering allegory of democracy:

Words like “Karma,” “retribution” and “deserving” were frequently mentioned in Chinese netizens’ comments when they saw the latest episode of the US’ real version of The House of Cards.

Chinese web users still remember the distress and anger they felt when they saw rioters in Hong Kong storming the city’s Legislative Council Complex, scrawling graffiti, smashing and robbing items. However, instead of condemning the violence, US politicians hailed the “courage” of these mobs, Western media praised the “restraint” of the rioters, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even called it a “beautiful sight to behold.”

“Many Chinese netizens are wondering why some politicians and media in the US reacted so differently to a similar situation,” Hua said. 

The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) quoted some of those “Chinese netizens” Hua and the Global Times alluded to, along with some CCP political figures hammering the point that Americans should now understand why ruthlessly extinguishing the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong was necessary.

“Harm set, harm get. The US Capitol Hill was occupied by rioters, the situation was more serious than Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. One woman was shot to death!” exclaimed pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho, who once urged the Chinese military to invade Hong Kong and crush the protesters, and was later ejected from the legislature for lobbing a sexist and racist insult at pro-democracy colleague Claudia Mo.

“These scenes are so familiar … oh, it is in the US! That is strange, why no one is condemning police violence and give support to heroes and martyrs who are fighting for a ‘democratic election’?” Executive Council member Ronny Tong asked sarcastically.

Some Hong Kong dissidents quoted by HKFP expressed sympathy for the Capitol Hill demonstrators, arguing they were demanding a “fair election” just as the Hong Kong protest movement did. Others criticized the violent protesters who entered the Capitol and strenuously disagreed with the CCP’s comparison of the event with Hong Kong protests, noting that “subverting democracy” is different from “subverting totalitarianism.”


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