Hong Kong leader criticizes 'double standards' over protests

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Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam listens to reporters' questions during a press conference in Hong Kong, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Lam hit out at the "double standards" of foreign governments over national security, and pointed to recent unrest in America as an example. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong's leader on Tuesday criticized the “double standards” of foreign governments regarding national security, pointing to the current unrest in the United States as an example of how attitudes differ when protests hit home.

“We have recently seen these kind of double standards most clearly with the riots in the United States,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. “We can see how local authorities have reacted. But then last year when we had similar riots in Hong Kong, what was their position?”

The U.S., Britain and some other Western democracies sharply criticized police crackdowns on anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year. Lam pointed to more recent criticism of an imminent national security law that many foreign politicians have characterized as Beijing eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong.

“They take their own country’s national security very seriously, but for the security of our country, especially the situation in Hong Kong, they are looking at it through tinted glasses,” she said.

Lam will lead a delegation of senior Hong Kong officials to Beijing on Wednesday to present her views on the planned national security laws to Chinese government officials, the Hong Kong government announced.

China’s ceremonial legislature last week approved a decision to create national security laws for Hong Kong, aimed at curbing subversive and secessionist activity after the monthslong pro-democracy movement last year that at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and police.

In response to the proposed laws, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday pledged to “take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory.”

Lam said if any countries imposed sanctions or made moves to affect trading relations, they would only be “hurting their own interests.” She went on to highlight the U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong.