Experts, analysts: “Beijing now exploiting George Floyd riots”

Monday, June 15, 2020
By Paul Martin

by: Michael Alexander
Sunday, June 14, 2020

Beijing is exploiting the ongoing political and social unrest across America as part of a concerted effort to deflect scrutiny regarding its own spotty record of human rights abuses, according to experts.

“Our foreign adversaries are going to take advantage of this crisis to sow discord and to try and damage our democracy,” U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in an interview with ABC, in reference to Chinese diplomats who have doubled their online activity in order to lob criticism on Washington’s handling of the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American who was killed by a white police officer.

One such move involved Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, who, on May 30, mocked a tweet posted by the U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus that decried Beijing’s decision to jam a national security law into Hong Kong’s governing document.

Hua quoted Ortagus’ tweet with the words “I can’t breathe” ?– the last words Floyd said right before he died. The tweet, which is still up on Hua’s account, has racked well over 9,000 retweets and 46,000 “likes” as of this writing.

According to Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society Center for U.S.-China Relations, Beijing wants to paint a chaotic and problematic picture of America to make China look good ?– especially after the pushback its government received during the Hong Kong protests.

“I think the Chinese Communist propaganda apparatus is very grateful to have some burning cities in the United States right now, having had to suffer and feel deeply humiliated by the specter of Hong Kong being in a state of chaos,” Schell said.

Aside from Chinese authorities, Chinese state-run media have also amplified calls against the U.S., with Chinese tabloid Global Times noting in an editorial that the U.S. is an inherently hypocritical country, with officials fond of applying “double standards” when it comes to dissent ?– a direct reference to the U.S.’s conflicting support for Hong Kong’s demonstrators and its heavy-handed attempts at pushing back on protestors on American soil.

“One should not impose on others what he himself does not desire,” Global Times editor Hu Xijin said in the editorial.

In a series of tweets, Hu also mocked U.S. officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, by rephrasing the latter’s description of the Hong Kong protests as a “beautiful sight to behold.”

Zhao Lijian of the Chinese Foreign Ministry repeated this talking point at a news conference, noting that double standards were “typical of Washington.”

“Why does the U.S. refer to those ‘Hong Kong independence’ and black-clad rioters as ‘heroes’ and ‘fighters’ but label its people protesting against racial discrimination as ‘thugs’?” Zhao stated.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam also parroted Hu’s talking point, telling reporters Tuesday that the George Floyd protests in America are an example of a double standard, noting that while U.S. officials, “are very concerned about their own national security,” they opted to look at Hong Kong’s security situation “through tinted glasses.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has rejected Beijing’s accusations, noting that the demonstrations in Hong Kong and the George Floyd protests cannot be equated with each other.

“These are completely different,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News, Sunday, stressing that the U.S. has “the rule of law,” which China does not have.

“We have the rule of law. We have decent Americans all across this country who are troubled by what happened, and they have the opportunity to speak freely about that…The Chinese Communist Party prevents that kind of freedom of expression,” stated Pompeo, who also met with some survivors of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre on the eve of its 30th anniversary.

According to Helle Dale, a senior fellow for public diplomacy at Washington-based conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, the crisis currently unfolding across America is a “propaganda gift” to Beijing who, without missing a beat, immediately seized upon the ongoing riots in a bid to highlight “American hypocrisy” and its alleged double standards.

Beijing has also ramped up its efforts to portray itself as a beacon of tolerance, with Hua posting a supposed “message of solidarity” with the George Floyd protesters on Twitter.

“All lives matter. We stand firmly with our African friends. We strongly oppose all forms of racial discrimination and inflammatory expressions of racism and hatred,” Hua said.

Dale, in an interview with The Epoch Times, said the tweet was nothing but “opportunistic,” and also hypocritical, noting that China’s Communist Party also has its own extensive list of human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities, specifically the Uighurs, Tibetans and the followers of the Falun Gong movement.

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