World

US protests: HK leader calls out 'double standards'

This article is more than 12 months old

HONG KONG : Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam accused foreign governments yesterday of "double standards" in their reaction to Beijing's plans to impose national security laws on the city, pointing to anti-police brutality protests in the United States.

In her first public appearance after Washington said it will remove Hong Kong's preferential treatment in US law in response to Beijing's plans, Mrs Lam warned countries threatening actions against the city that they may hurt their own interests.

"They are very concerned about their own national security, but on our national security... they look through tinted glasses," Mrs Lam told a weekly news conference.

"In the US, we see how the riots were being handled by the local governments, compared with the stance they adopted when almost the same riots happened in Hong Kong last year."

Having lost patience with Hong Kong after large-scale and often-violent pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled city last year, Beijing authorities last month advanced plans to introduce laws tackling secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.

The laws could also see Chinese intelligence agencies set up shop in the global financial hub.

US President Donald Trump, saying Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from Beijing as promised at the time of the 1997 handover of the territory by Britain, said Hong Kong will no longer be treated differently from China in US law.

Hong Kong and Beijing authorities insist rights and freedoms will be preserved, remarks echoed by Mrs Lam yesterday. She said "public concerns" about the legislation were understandable as a draft was yet to be finalised.

In Washington, the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrators near the White House on Monday as Mr Trump vowed a massive show of force to end violent protests over the death of a black man in police custody. Dozens of cities remain under curfews.

Meanwhile, protesters in Hong Kong have mainly been asking for universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into how the police handled the demonstrations. They reject Mrs Lam's description of the demonstrations as riots. - REUTERS

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