China blasts smears on sentence of HK rioters as trampling on local, international laws
Published: Apr 18, 2021 09:32 PM
Hong Kong police officers escort media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying after his arrest on Monday. Photo: Xinhua

Hong Kong police officers escort media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying after his arrest on Monday. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese government agencies on Hong Kong affairs, embassies and officials have over the weekend vigorously pushed back against the groundless accusations and smears of some politicians from the US, UK and EU regarding the legal cases against some Hong Kong secessionists including notorious anti-government figure Jimmy Lai, in quick responses which analysts deemed as necessary to prevent the international discourse from being monopolized by the West and justice from being hijacked by anti-China forces. 

A spokesperson for the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong said in a statement on Sunday that some foreign forces have repeatedly glorified the Hong Kong criminals as "champions of democracy" and obstructed the Hong Kong judiciary's handling of their cases based on law. "It is trampling on the rule of law in both Hong Kong and the world," it said. 

The statement came as a response to successive moves by British foreign minister, US Consulate General Hong Kong, and the EU External Action Service accusing Hong Kong authorities of undermining democracy and the fundamental freedoms of people following the sentencing of some Hong Kong rioters on Friday. Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau also expressed "grave concerns" over the matter on Sunday.

The foreign politicians and institutions referred to the prosecuted pro-secessionists as Hong Kong "pro-democracy activists" and some called for the release of the sentenced rioters. 

Hong Kong's Department of Justice said it was surprised at the "absurd" demands for the release of defendants who confessed to their crimes or have already been convicted, like Hong Kong riot leader Jimmy Lai, saying it is a flagrant violation of international law, reported Hong Kong media on Saturday. 

Chinese embassies and officials firmly pushed back against the foreign countries' accusations and smears on Saturday and Sunday, urging the relevant parties to stop their interventions in China's internal affairs. 

The Chinese Embassy in Canada on Sunday blasted that Canada openly played as a shield for criminals in Hong Kong, which once again exposed its "double standards" and sinister intention to undermine stability in Hong Kong.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in an interview with the Associated Press that those anti-China, destabilizing elements in Hong Kong are not really the so-called opposition party or "pro-democracy advocates." They are separatists and rioters,  and they deserved to be put on trial. 

China's mission to the EU also criticized the statement by the EU External Action Service that claimed Hong Kong's democratic space has been diminished and freedom eroded, warning the EU to step out of China's affairs and alerting the West that it can no longer act as it pleases with today's China. 

Experts said the prompt and concentrated responses from China's relevant authorities show China's firm stance in safeguarding its national sovereignty and intention to prevent the international discourse from being monopolized by the West.

The Chinese government previously has been less responsive to unreasonable criticism from some foreign countries, which showed grace but also ceded its international voice. Now it has proactively increased its voice to demonstrate its stance, Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Tang noted that this could be considered a new approach and formula for Chinese diplomacy.

"We must stay proactive in our stance to prevent other countries from interfering in our internal affairs, and ensure that we would not be demonized and stigmatized by the West," he said.