China has accused the United States of double standards for praising protesters as heroes in Hong Kong but labelling demonstrators as rioters in America.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for Chinese foreign ministry, said on Monday that protests in Hong Kong and in the US had different forces.
He said that during the Hong Kong protests “internal and external forces acted outrageously to split the country, subvert the regime and organise terrorist attacks”.
“These pro-independence movements and black-clad mobs severely endangered national security,” he said.
“Why did the US glorify the so-called pro-independence forces in Hong Kong as heroes, but call the protesters disappointed with racism in the US rioters?
“Why did the US criticise the very restrained Hong Kong police but shoot its domestic protesters and even mobilise its National Guard troops?”
Mass protests have been staged across the US after an African-American man died in police custody in Minneapolis.
George Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer was seen kneeling on his neck for several minutes despite the suspect shouting “I can’t breathe.”
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
So far, the US has faced six days of protests – and some of the largely peaceful daytime demonstrations have descended into violence at night.
In Louisville, Kentucky, one man was shot and killed when police and the National Guard opened fire after a violent confrontation between a group gathered in a supermarket car park and law enforcement trying to disperse the crowd, according to the Washington Post.
Police arrested about 4,100 people in US cities over the weekend, according to Associated Press.
Zhao urged Washington to face the deep-seated racial problems in the US.
“This incident reflected how severe the problem of racism and police brutality is in the US, and how urgently these problems need to be solved,” he said, adding that it should protect minorities’ legal rights.
The wave of protests in the US has prompted many Chinese social media users to repeat accusations that the US played a role in the social unrest in Hong Kong last year.
“The US cannot manage its internal affairs well, how come it can interfere with other countries' domestic affairs?” asked one user on the Weibo platform.
Tear gas fired, arrests made as thousands protest against Beijing’s planned national security law for Hong Kong
Another wrote: “The protesters are making their appeals in a peaceful way, and I urge the US government to respect their human rights.”
Hong Kong’s protests started in June last year over a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
The bill was withdrawn in September but anti-government demonstrations continued and became increasingly violent.
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