Long arm of US law mangles human rights in Hong Kong: China Daily editorial

More than 100 residents of Hong Kong, mostly young people, awaken the city by sending their best wishes to the nation and the city at Wan Chai's Golden Bauhinia Square, on Sept 17, 2019. (Photo: China Daily)

The passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by the US legislature on Tuesday speaks volumes about the United States' hypocrisy with regard to the chaos in the special administrative region of China.

The hollowness of its claim to be upholding human rights was left in no doubt by its passing of a second bill on the same day that seeks to ban exports of standard anti-riot equipment such as tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns to the Hong Kong police.

The unopposed passage of the two bills exposes the extent to which the US lawmakers are willing to go in debasing human rights for their anti-China purposes. They clearly indicate the rioters are considered to be the only people in Hong Kong with any rights. The rights of ordinary law-abiding residents, which have been trampled over by the rioters, are conveniently ignored.

The "human rights and democracy act", which awaits the US president's signature to come into effect, requires the State Department to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for the special US trading consideration and provides for sanctions on "foreign persons" responsible for human rights violations in the Chinese city — a clear provocation given the national identity attributed to these persons in various remarks.

Enshrining the US Congress as the sole arbiter of what constitutes human rights and who is violating them, the bills are nothing but the latest examples of the US love of long-arm jurisdiction. A unilateral power play that has always proven to exacerbate a problem rather than solve it.

The two bills mean that the US has decided not to hide its backing of the anti-Beijing cliques and their pawns in the city any more, something it had hitherto repeatedly denied.

In doing so, it is trying to pour old wine in a new bottle. Holding high the banners of human rights and democracy and wielding its punitive sanctions, Washington has created chaos in countries from North Africa and the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Latin America to Central and Southeast Asia.

But compared with these countries, China, its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to be specific, has the conditions least amenable to the US' color-revolution ploys.

The US should be aware that China will safeguard its core national interests and will take strong countermeasures as necessary. It has been preparing for the worst-case scenarios, and it has never relaxed its vigilance to the possible harm caused by the irritability of pollen from blooming flowers when opening its doors — or the unruly behavior of intoxicated companions.