Lenses on Riots, Murder, and Racism in the US and Hong Kong

The despicable police murder of a person, another Black person, who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill has caused widespread revulsion among Americans. This time, however, authorities acted relatively quickly calling in the FBI and firing all four police officers at the scene — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng.

George Floyd, who did not resist, was forcibly extricated from his vehicle by police, handcuffed, whereupon officer Derek Chauvin knelt for 8 minutes on Floyd’s neck while he pleaded that he was unable to breathe. Floyd’s death was the result.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has called for the arrest of Chauvin, although not by the officer’s name. Said Frey, “If you had done it or I had done it we would be behind bars right now and I cannot come up with an answer to that question.”

In contradistinction protestors have been hastily arrested while protesting Floyd’s murder.

Even the media were not safe from being arrested for covering the story of another police murder of a Black man. The Save Journalism Project responded in a press release:

The arrest of CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew on live television this morning simply for reporting on the protests of police violence in Minneapolis violates the most basic tenet of press freedom: the necessity of reporting what are at times uncomfortable truths for government authorities. The government possesses enormous coercive power, that as this episode clearly shows, can be all too easily applied to limit or prevent the press from reporting on their actions. The First Amendment exists precisely for this reason.

The arrest of Jimenez even underscores the reasons for the protests he was covering. No one has been arrested in the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. But Jimenez, who like Floyd is black, has been arrested. There was even another CNN crew near Jimenez at the time of his arrest, but Josh Campbell and his producers were, according to Campbell, “treated much differently,” and were obviously not arrested.

In the US, American journalists, especially if Black, can be arrested … for what? Reporting a live story? To curtail racism and prejudice from wider exposure? To protect the crimes of the US gendarmerie from becoming public knowledge?

Prejudice in US and China

Why did the police murder another black citizen. NBA star Lebron James had no doubt.

Despite rampant racism and racism-inspired violence in the US, the US continues to inveigh against the alleged Chinese maltreatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Tibetans in Tibet. It has been refuted by others, such as journalist Caleb Maupin, as propaganda that seeks to demonize the Chinese government.

Arresting versus expelling journalists

In mid-March, the Chinese government announced the expulsion of journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

The US mass media struck back: “[N]ewsroom leaders criticized China’s move, which comes in the midst of a global public health crisis over COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.”

Trump said, “I’m not happy to see it. I have my own disputes with all three of those media groups — I think you know that very well — but I don’t like seeing that at all.”

The Chinese action comes after Washington imposed limitations on staff at Chinese state media outlets in the US.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said,

The United States cannot proceed from ideological prejudice, use its own standards and likes and dislikes to judge the media of other countries, let alone suppress the Chinese media unreasonably…. We urge the US to take off its ideological prejudice, abandon cold war mentality…. China is not one to start trouble, but it will not blink if trouble comes. We urge the US side to immediately stop suppressing Chinese media, otherwise the US side will lose even more.

Notably, Americans have also been prohibited from working as journalists in Macau or Hong Kong.

A Comparison to China’s Response to the Riots in Hong Kong

What about the protests/riots that have resumed in Hong Kong? What triggered those protests? Some citizens were opposed to extradition of alleged criminals? How has China responded to rioting, sabotage, terrorism, separatism, and even murders by the so-called protestors? Hong Kong is a territory having been a under British colonial administration from 1841 to 1997 when it reverted to mainland China as a special autonomous region; it must be noted that once the original demands for rescinding the extradition bill were met, the goal posts of the NED-supported protestors transformed into a purported democracy movement.

Has china responded with military force? No. With arrests of law-abiding journalists? No. With police brutality? Most observers will acknowledge that police have been incredibly restrained, some would say too restrained in the face of protestor violence.

The protestors, largely disaffected youth, as is apparent in all or most video footage, by and large employ random violence as a tactic, which they do not condemn. This was made clear by Hong Kong protest leader Joey Siu, during an interview with Deutsche Welle, who said she “will not do any kind of public condemnation” for the use of unjustified violence by protesters against residents who do not share their political views.

How has Beijing responded? Legislatively, by seeking to uphold the Basic Law, whose Article 23 mandated Hong Kong to enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government. It is the normal case that nations everywhere protect their national security. Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post ran an opinion piece titled “If Hong Kong had enacted national security laws on its own, Beijing wouldn’t be stepping in” which pointed out:

Beijing trusted Hong Kong to implement Article 23, but its trust was misplaced. The Basic Law is a two-way street – it isn’t fair to accuse the central government of failing to comply with the mini-constitution when Hong Kong itself has not fulfilled its obligations.

Extradition for crimes committed versus extradition for exposing war crimes

The Hong Kong imbroglio stems from the attempt to enact a bill to permit extradition between Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. This was given impetus when Hong Kong resident Chan Tong-kai, 20, murdered his girlfriend, Poon Hiu-wing, 20, while they were on vacation in Taiwan. To be convicted of murder, he’d have to return to the jurisdiction in which it occurred for trial. But there is no extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Chan did agree to return to Taiwan to face the charges, but Taiwan blocked his entry.

The absurdity of this extradition conundrum is laid bare by the fact that Hong Kong has an extradition treaty with Britain and the US and not with its motherland, China. Thus, the lack of an extradition arrangement prevents justice for criminal acts such as murder among certain regions of China.

Meanwhile another bombastic evidence of western infidelity to justice is the extradition that is sought for a man whose “crime” was to reveal to the world the war crimes of the US war machine. For this Julian Assange, a man who should be protected by all humanity, has seen his human rights obliterated and any shred of western adherence to the concept of justice obliterated.

UPDATE:

In the course of writing this article, Derek Chauvin was taken into custody. The other three officers who were aware of officer Chauvin’s brutal and lethal act are in essence accomplices and ought to be held culpable under the law for their roles.

Kim Petersen is a former co-editor of the Dissident Voice newsletter. He can be reached at: kimohp@gmail.com. Twitter: @kimpetersen. Read other articles by Kim.