Hong Kong’s Response to Washington
by Valery Kulikov on 15 Jun 2020 0 Comment

A fierce confrontation between the United States and China, which has further intensified during the Coronavirus era, has become a staple in recent years. In order to exacerbate this conflict, Washington has employed numerous tools, such as pulling out of a number of bilateral and even international agreements; aggressively using sanctions; ramping up propaganda efforts and even escalating disagreements with China within international organizations.


Recently, Donald Trump has been actively trying to involve his allies in the confrontation. And according to an article in newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the US President’s suggestion to expand the G7 indicates that he “sees such a high-level round of talks as a tool to put even more pressure on Beijing”.


During the Coronavirus pandemic, the conflict between the PRC and USA has intensified considerably, as Washington has ramped up its efforts to convince the US and international community that China was responsible for the outbreak, and has even officially accused Beijing of wrongdoing. Lawsuits have been filed in US courts against the PRC, with litigants demanding billions in compensation for losses incurred. Beijing has denied these baseless accusations and even claimed that Coronavirus might have been brought to China by a superspreader. Chinese officials have repeatedly pointed out that the disease could have been spread either deliberately or unintentionally by a US delegation that came for the 7th CISM Military World Games, held in Wuhan at the end of the previous year.


Aside from the aforementioned means of sowing discord, Washington has been actively using its standard tool (employed in confrontations with its rivals) against the PRC, i.e. “defending against human rights violations”. At the end of May, the US Congress voted to authorize new sanctions against anyone responsible for the repression of ethnic minorities in the PRC. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (“S. 3744”) allows Donald Trump to impose sanctions against any Chinese officials for engaging in mass surveillance of and detaining Uighurs and members of other minority groups in the Xinjiang region (in northwest China).


In response, as far back as December 2019, China’s National People’s Congress urged the American Congress to stop damaging the US-China bilateral relations. Chinese officials pointed out that the Uighur Act of 2019 (which had earlier been approval by the US House of Representatives) deliberately smeared “the human rights condition in Xinjiang”, slandered “China’s efforts in deradicalization and counterterrorism”, viciously attacked “the Chinese government’s Xinjiang policy” and interfered in PRC’s domestic affairs.


However, Washington chose to ignore Beijing’s warnings about worsening ties. Instead, the White House went on to use the protests in Hong Kong (which, incidentally, intensified thanks in large part to the involvement of various NGOs and “advisors” from across the pond) as an excuse to ramp up anti-Chinese propaganda efforts and to further its multi-step agenda to discredit the Chinese government.


Recently, Donald Trump announced that the United States was prepared to change its relationship with Hong Kong, the move would affect the extradition treaty, export controls and technologies. He also said the US would “take steps to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials who were directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy”. During the press briefing at the White House on May 26, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany stated Donald Trump told her that he had found it hard to see how Hong Kong could remain a financial hub. The United States called for a UN Security Council meeting on Hong Kong but the PRC rejected the request. The US President also signed a proclamation “barring the entry of Chinese students tied to the Chinese military from entering the US to study or conduct research above the undergraduate level”, because Chinese authorities use such students “as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property”.


On May 29, Donald Trump announced tougher measures against China in response to its actions in Hong Kong and also promised to take further tough meaningful steps.


In the meantime, anti-racism protests, unprecedented in scale and intensity in current times, have been sweeping the United States. And the US President, who has portrayed himself as a defender of human rights and an opponent of using force to quell demonstrations in Hong Kong and other nations, publicly called on the military to quash the protests, thus showing the world the true face of “American democracy”. The Associated Press reported “that military aircraft over” Washington D.C. had been acting “under Trump’s orders in a show of force mission” aimed against the protests, which had started over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. According to Chief Pentagon Spokesperson for the Department of Defense Jonathan Rath Hoffman, some 1,600 US troops were moved to Washington DC region.


Demonstrations and looting continue as mass unemployment and economic woes plague the United States. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported that the devastating pandemic raging in the nation; “restrictions on civil life not seen even in war-time”; “a loss of trust and disconnect from the presidency perhaps comparable only to Watergate”, and “an unprecedented attack on the free press” could all ensure that 2020 would “certainly go down in history for all the wrong reasons”.


On June 3, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said that there was “institutional racism” and “lack of equality for all people” in the United States, and that she had no doubts that this was so.


French newspaper Le Figaro reported that the Minneapolis protests were being politicized. Before visiting a nearby church on June 2, Donald Trump told journalists outside the White House: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them”. According to Le Figaro, the possibility that the military would be mobilized in response to nation-wide protests in the United States was reminiscent of the times when anti-racism riots swept the country following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in the spring of 1968. At the time, National Guard troops were deployed in several cities, including New York and Washington DC. As a result, 13 people died.


Chinese media outlets then decided to retaliate against US news sources, which had reported about human rights violations and abuses of power by police officers in their coverage of the protests in Hong Kong. In their response to the now infamous death of the African American man at the hands of police officers, China’s press and blogosphere have all been saying, in one voice, to Washington that it was about time the United States started respecting human rights of its own residents. Then Beijing called on the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in Minneapolis and racial discrimination faced by African Americans in the USA.


Politicians from many of the world’s nations, Europe and regions outside of it have all denounced actions taken by the US government. In addition, numerous protests in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter in the USA are growing globally, and criticism of racist and xenophobic acts by governments of other nations has intensified.


It is important to remember that aside from dissatisfaction felt by US residents with race relations policies in their country, the unjustifiably high death toll (of more than 100,000), as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, is also spurring on protests, which could lead to further exacerbation of the situation in the United States. It is, therefore, not surprising that Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger called Donald Trump the “President of the 100,000 dead”.


Thus, the ranks of the United States’ own version of the Immortal regiment, whose memory is cherished by US citizens, keep swelling not only on account of the innocent victims who died at the hands of US authorities because of racial discrimination (and there have already been thousands of such deaths), and the lack of viable actions by the US government during the Coronavirus pandemic, but also as a result of unjustified military interventions abroad.


Valery Kulikov, expert political scientist, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. Courtesy


User Comments Post a Comment

Back to Top