China Compares Hong Kong Protesters to January 6 Rioters

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Lester Shum (centre L), Kwok Ka-ki (C-behind), Kalvin Ho (C front) and Sam Cheung (centre R) are escorted into a van as they leave the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, the day after appearing at the West Kowloon Court on the charge of conspiracy to commit …
VERNON YUEN/AFP via Getty Images

China’s state-run Global Times on Monday defended the prosecution of 47 pro-democracy activists and politicians in Hong Kong against a rising tide of global criticism, insisting the Hong Kong defendants are no different than the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, so China is equally justified in cracking down on them.

The Global Times argued Biden administration officials are hypocrites for objecting to the Hong Kong prosecutions and hailing the defendants as “brave activists,” the way National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “blatantly” did.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) paper said U.S. officials are merely trying to recruit Hong Kong troublemakers to “serve as U.S. tools to confront China,” while the American legal system comes down hard on the equally troublesome Capitol Hill hooligans:

Before the US supports and praises those who impair Hong Kong’s rule of law, it should first thank America’s “brave activists” who stormed Capitol Hill in January. At least, these Americans were protecting their president and opposing “election fraud,” while the Hong Kong suspects have made no constructive contribution to Hong Kong at all. 

Just with conventional wisdom, we know the 47 people may have already committed a crime. They conducted the so-called primary election in July 2020, but there is no such “primary election” in Hong Kong’s local election laws. It is an illegal act. Some Western countries do have primary elections, but they are part of their electoral systems. Those lawbreakers in Hong Kong had organized activities to interfere in elections outside of the democratic system, and their purpose was to carry out political mobilization and to gather forces that could eventually subvert Hong Kong’s constitutional system and paralyze the HKSAR [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] government.

They have violated the provisions of the national security law for Hong Kong. Whether they constitute a serious crime and whether they need to go to jail must be determined by Hong Kong’s judicial authorities in accordance with the national security law for Hong Kong and other local laws. This is an inevitable act of a society under the rule of law. Western intervention at this juncture is a real destruction to Hong Kong’s judicial system. Western countries want to turn Hong Kong into an ideological vassal that follows them.

The “national security law” mentioned by the Global Times is a totalitarian law forced upon Hong Kong in defiance of its limited autonomy in the summer of 2020. The law, imposed by Beijing without any input from the Hong Kong legislature, criminalizes anything and everything the CCP views as a threat to its power and control. It sentences violators to a minimum of ten years in prison if found guilty.

The Global Times was satisfied the national security law has stamped out meaningful dissent on the captive island: “Hong Kong’s opposition forces have no ability to fight the law, and the US’s and UK’s intervention mainly focuses on verbal accusations, and their ability to exert real pressure is very limited. The implementation of the national security law for and in Hong Kong is unwavering.”

The editorial also preemptively defended the next act of Chinese oppression against Hong Kong, a new batch of rules that will stipulate only certified “patriots” can participate in city government.

“It is both natural and justified for Hong Kong patriots governing Hong Kong. Is it possible for people in the U.S. and the UK to be ruled by people who do not love their own country?” the Global Times asked, penning the most unintentionally amusing line written by the CCP in years. 

The mass trial of Hong Kong opposition leaders defended by the Global Times swiftly became a characteristic CCP human rights atrocity, as several of the defendants fainted during the marathon first day of hearings Tuesday and had to be rushed to the hospital. 

Protests are continuing outside the courthouse as pro-democracy activists defy the draconian national security law to show their support for the defendants.

Young students at a nearby school joined in, chanting famous slogans from the 2019 democracy movement that have now been banned in Hong Kong, including “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “Hong Kong, add oil.” Some of the demonstrators added a new flourish: the three-fingered salute of defiance popularized in the Hunger Games novels and recently adopted by Burmese protesting against the military coup in their country.

“We have been taking shifts since yesterday. Our friend is among those charged. I want to tell my friend that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for our city,” a 20-year-old demonstrator told the UK Guardian on Monday.

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