Western support for HK trio betrays double standard

By Liu Lulu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/20 23:48:39

Originally sentenced to community service and a suspended jail term, three prominent young leaders that spearheaded Hong Kong's 2014 political movement, which at some points turned violent, were sentenced to between six and eight months in jail by an appeals court last week. These penalties are still too lenient for many on the Chinese mainland. Illegal activities of this kind have severely jeopardized public security, disturbed people's lives and inflicted heavy economic losses, and their perpetrators deserve heavier punishment.

However, Western media outlets started to criticize the central government for infringing on Hong Kong's judicial independence and political freedom. Again, they raised a call for "democracy" and "freedom," arguing that the punishment for the trio, namely Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, would send a chilling warning for Hong Kong's freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, erode the city's international image as a free city, and strangle Hong Kong's future democracy movement. The Wall Street Journal described the trio as Hong Kong's "political prisoners." A commentary in The New York Times even called for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to consider the three prisoners for the laureate should they be nominated. "The imprimatur of a Nobel Prize would help," the opinion peace argued.

The Western media is confused over a basic fact. The trio was convicted for contravening the law during the protest, rather than exercising their civil liberties. The verdict is based on facts and adheres to the letter of the law. There can be no argument against it. Hong Kong is a society operating with the rule of law, where liberty has never been a problem, but nobody shall engage in illegal and violent activities under the pretext of "freedom" and "democracy." Hong Kong citizens, especially young people, will certainly understand the significance of maintaining the dignity of the law in their daily life and development.

The sentence on the trio is not an issue of democracy, but of Hong Kong's social order. If people go unpunished for violent protests, then the city would be mired in chaos. Society would be in turmoil if anyone who is unhappy with the current system is allowed to "occupy" the street without paying a price.

US media outlets pointed fingers at Hong Kong's penalties on the activists. But ironically, the US arrested 27 people in Boston after thousands gathered for a counter-protest against a far-right gathering over the weekend. Attaching so much importance to "democracy," the US doesn't permit illegal street activities either.

By hyping the sentences, Western media is hurling abuse at Hong Kong's judiciary and interfering with its judicial independence. This is not democratic, but it is spoiling democracy.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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