When George Floyd, an unarmed African American, died a shocking death at the hands of a white police officer following his arrest, the incident unleashed a spate of demonstrations against police brutality and racial discrimination in the U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump defended the state action, saying, "Looting leads to shooting," which led to widespread public condemnation. Curfew was imposed in several cities and the National Guard, a military reserve force, deployed to assist public safety in over a dozen states.
This reaction, ironically, is diametrically opposite to the U.S. reaction last year when the Chinese Government tried to control the violence that erupted in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Last June, separatists demanding Hong Kong's "independence" committed multiple crimes, including assaulting police and damaging property, and putting national security in serious jeopardy. Yet the U.S. supported the violent elements and U.S.-funded institutions provided them finance.
This is double standard at its worst. Though the causes of the protests in the U.S. and the violence in Hong Kong are completely different, the fallouts are just as damaging to both societies. National security is the basic foundation of the existence and development of any country in the world. No state will allow separatist and other activities that endanger it national security.
It is with this view that China's national legislature last month voted overwhelmingly to formulate laws and establish an enforcement mechanism for Hong Kong.
However, though it is an internal matter of China, it triggered a new round of verbal attacks from Washington threatening to end the United States' special trade relationship with Hong Kong and impose sanctions on Chinese officials who backed the decision. The U.S. and the UK even attempted to have the matter discussed at the UN Security Council.
Their so-called ground is that the move violates China's international obligations under the principles of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the agreement China and the UK signed in 1984 to follow a "one country, two systems" framework for Hong Kong's governance after its return to the motherland in 1997.
Western politicians can't use the declaration as an excuse to interfere because the ultimate goal and core content of the pact was to ensure Hong Kong's return to China. As China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the rights and obligations of the British under the pact were fulfilled.
The Chinese Government administers Hong Kong in accordance with the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law, the constitutional document of Hong Kong, not the declaration. It is therefore legitimate, legal and imperative for China to establish and improve, at the state level, a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong.
Also, this is purely China's internal affair since Hong Kong is a Chinese SAR. Non-interference in other countries' internal affairs is a basic principle governing international relations and should be observed by all. However, since Hong Kong's return in 1997, foreign forces have kept meddling in its affairs, fomenting social unrest.
The violence last year, supported by some politicians in the West, posed a grave threat to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and "one country, two systems."
Therefore it became a necessity to address the lacuna in Hong Kong's legal system. The recent decision is intended to combat a very specific category of acts that seriously jeopardize national security. It would have no impact on Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong.
Instead, the new security law would improve Hong Kong's legal system and bring more stability, a stronger rule of law and a better business environment, protecting its position as a global financial, trading and shipping center.
However, it would also stop external interference in Hong Kong affairs, perhaps the real reason for the criticism of the move.
Since its return, Hong Kong, supported by the mainland, has become an important investment and operation hub for the U.S. business community. Nearly 85,000 Americans, more than 1,300 U.S. businesses, nearly 300 U.S. companies' regional headquarters and more than 400 regional offices are based in Hong Kong.
Almost all major U.S. financial companies operate in Hong Kong. The U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong reached $297 billion in the past 10 years, making Hong Kong the top trade partner of the U.S. A safe, stable and prosperous Hong Kong is in America's own interests.
(Print Edition Title: No Double Standard Please)
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org