Hong Kong leader criticizes "double standards" over protests

Jun 2, 2020

Hong Kong’s leader has criticized the “double standards” of foreign governments over national security, pointing to the current unrest in the United States as an example of how attitudes differed between issues at home and abroad

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday criticized the “double standards” of foreign governments over national security, pointing to the current unrest in the United States as an example of how attitudes differ when protests hit home.

“We have recently seen these kind of double standards most clearly with the riots in the United States,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. “We can see how local authorities have reacted. But then last year when we had similar riots in Hong Kong, what was their position?”

The U.S., Britain and some other Western democracies sharply criticized police crackdowns on anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year. Lam pointed to more recent criticism of an imminent national security law that many foreign politicians have characterized as Beijing eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong.

“They take their own country’s national security very seriously, but for the security of our country, especially the situation in Hong Kong, they are looking at it through tinted glasses,” she said.

Lam will lead a delegation of senior Hong Kong officials to Beijing on Wednesday to present her views on the planned national security laws to Chinese government officials, the Hong Kong government announced.

China’s ceremonial legislature last week approved a decision to create national security laws for Hong Kong, aimed at curbing subversive and secessionist activity after the monthslong pro-democracy movement last year that at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and police.

In response to the law, President Donald Trump on Friday pledged to “take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory.”

Lam said if any countries imposed sanctions or made moves to affect trading relations, they would only be “hurting their own interests.” She went on to highlight the U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong.

“Foreign governments have been responding a high-profile manner, some have threatened certain actions, and I can only say that they are adopting double standards,” Lam said.

Lam also expressed concern over the latest coronavirus outbreak in the city, after a new cluster of nine people in the same public housing building tested positive for the virus over the past few days, ending a streak of nearly two weeks without locally transmitted cases.

She said that the government was deciding on whether to extend social-distancing measures that are still in place in the city until June 4. Currently, there is a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people.

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