“All of these acts were committed as if by Hong Kong rioters who snuck into these US cities,” wrote the CCP’s Global Times.
by Massimo Introvigne
What do those who protest the death of George Floyd in the U.S. and, respectively, the Chinese attack on democracy in Hong Kong have in common? Both movements started by protesting an injustice, and enjoyed the sympathy of most international media in democratic countries. In Hong Kong, notwithstanding widespread police brutality, very few protesters got violent. In the US, a larger number used what was initially a legitimate protest as a pretext to smash windows, assault shops, and steal goods. Of course, how the American media reacted to the George Floyd protest, and how the CCP-controlled media covered the Hong Kong demonstrations, was totally different, and in fact opposed. Most U.S. media rejected the violence of some protesters, but at the same time vehemently criticized the racist subculture that led to the brutality of the Floyd incident. The CCP media condemned all Hong Kong protesters as separatists and “rioters,” and glorified the police’s brutal response, totally ignoring the legitimate grievances of those who took to the streets.
Not unexpectedly, the CCP’s domestic and international propaganda manipulated the events in the United States, claiming that American misguided tolerance for rioters in general led to unrest and destruction after the Floyd incident. “Burning police stations, smashing stores, blocking the roads, attacking police officers and destroying public facilities, wrote the CCP’s international propaganda mouthpiece Global Times,—All of these acts were committed as if by Hong Kong rioters who snuck into these US cities.”
Global Times editor Hu Xijin referred to speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s comment that the Hong Kong protests were a “beautiful sight,” and tweeted: “The ‘beautiful sight’ defined by US politicians has eventually extended from Hong Kong to the US. Now they can witness it by their home windows. I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the US, like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”As is becoming increasingly common, senior Chinese diplomats retweeted Hu’s comments.
CCP-owned China Central Television (CCTV) commented that, “The American politicians who shot themselves in the foot are now having a taste of the bitter fruit of encouraging riots in Hong Kong!” China also tried to excite anti-American sentiment in Africa. Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian stated that, “In response to the situation in the US, leaders of the African Union and many African countries have called for justice against racial discrimination. Their voices represent the consensus of the international community and deserve the attention from the US side. China stands with the African side in their just calls and will work with the African side to firmly oppose all forms of racial discrimination, including inflammatory comments of racial hostility and hatred.” This was somewhat paradoxical, considering that China has been itself accused of racism against Africans living there during the pandemic.
The propaganda is massive, but confused. On the one hand, China depicts the protests in the US as a legitimate criticism of racism. But, if those confronted with the infringement of their rights are justified when they protest, why is this legitimacy denied to the Hong Kong protesters? On the other hand, the CCP claims that American tolerance for protests and riots, as expressed by the support for Hong Kong protests, is the root cause of the current violence in the U.S.—hence the superiority of the Chinese system of security and control.
This theory is false. Totalitarianism is never better than democracy. In democratic countries, protests happen. They may degenerate into violence. Courts of law, and responsible media, are there to distinguish between legitimate protest and illegal violence. By doing so effectively, even when this is not easy, they prove the superiority of the democratic system. Totalitarians have a quick fix: repress all protests and jail all those who protest. It is the “solution” the CCP has in mind for Hong Kong. It is based on the seductive, but false, idea that “stability” is more important than freedom. However, stability without freedom can only be the stability of death and the peace of the cemeteries.