Hongkongers see double standard in UK’s forcing through new anti-protest offences
Published: May 12, 2022 06:47 PM Updated: May 12, 2022 06:43 PM
Hong Kong. File photo
Hong Kong. File photo

 The UK is set to force through new offences to prevent certain behaviors considered as disruptive during public protests. But netizens from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) noticed an ironic contrast compared with UK’s attitude toward the riots in the city in 2019. “This is straightforward double standard,” they say. 

The new offences announced on Tuesday are targeted at certain behaviors during protests including protestors’ locking themselves onto others, objects or buildings, interfering with key national infrastructure, and obstructing major transport works. Such behaviors will constitute a maximum penalty of six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine. 

Although similar amendments were rejected by the House of Lords in January, the latest plan will mean that the government can rely on its Commons majority to force them through, The Guardian reported. 

UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel said these measures will “give the police the powers they need to clamp down on this outrageous behavior and ensure the British public can go about their lives without disruption.”

Many people in Hong Kong, however, have noticed that UK’s attitude toward its home affairs seems to be largely different to how it reacted during Hong Kong’s yearlong social unrest in 2019. 

“I remember when there were violent rioters in Hong Kong, some countries called it ‘a beautiful sight.’ In that case, why do they want to legislate to convict these people?” A Hong Kong netizen wrote on Facebook.

"When mobs in Hong Kong set people on fire, the British prime minister used to say he ‘stood with Hong Kong,’" another Hong Kong netizen said, pointing out UK’s double standard.

During the 2019 unrest in HKSAR, mobs repeatedly blocked roads and airports to stage illegal and violent protests, which were labeled "peaceful demonstrations" by the UK and Western politicians. The handling of the incidents by the Hong Kong police was also discredited and defamed.

“The British government has repeatedly criticized the rulings of Hong Kong courts on cases of unlawful assembly, but it keeps making new laws to restrict the demonstrations of its own people, showing once again its double standard,” wrote Hong Kong-based newspaper Wen Wei Po on Wednesday. 

Global Times