US, UK raise Hong Kong issue in Security Council, angry China rakes up Minneapolis protests

The US and UK raised the issue of China’s controversial security law for Hong Kong during an emergency discussion in the Security Council, angering Beijing which said the UN organ should instead pay attention to the US’ excessive use of force against protesters in Minneapolis and its racial discrimination against black communities.

The 15-nation Council discussed Hong Kong in an informal virtual meeting after the US and United Kingdom brought the issue for emergency discussion under “any other business” on Friday.

“Today I asked the Council one simple question: are we going to take the honourable stand to defend the human rights and the dignified way of life that millions of Hong Kong citizens have enjoyed and deserve like all freedom loving people, or are we going to allow the Chinese Communist Party to violate international law and force its will on the people of Hong Kong who look to us to preserve their way of life and their freedoms?” US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said.

China’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new controversial security law for Hong Kong, a move that critics say threatens the fundamental political freedoms and civil liberties in the semi-autonomous territory, also a major global trading hub.

The security legislation bans secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, foreign intervention and allows mainland China’s state security agencies to operate in Hong Kong.

Craft said that the US is resolute and calls upon all UN member states to join it in demanding that China immediately reverse course and honour its international legal commitments to this institution and to the Hong Kong people.

Beijing shot back, saying the adoption of the legislation is purely China’s internal affair and has nothing to do with the work and mandate of the Security Council.

China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun, along with Russia, slammed the US for the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man who died this week in Minneapolis after a white police officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground, triggering violent protests.

“It’s our view that, instead of wasting time on this issue, the Council should pay more attention and even take action on issues more relevant to international peace and security.

“Just to name a few, the impact of the Brexit on international peace and security, the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and other countries, the excessive use of force against protesters in Minneapolis, the killing of an African American young man and racial discrimination against African Americans. This list can be endless. China stands ready to work with you on these issues,” Zhang said.

Supporting China, Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a tweet that the “awkward move” by the US and UK to raise the issue of Hong Kong in the Security Council “was not supported by clear majority of Council members: divisive, biased issues” which have nothing to do with international peace and security shouldn’t be brought up in the Council.

“Our US colleagues failed to answer legitimate questions of how their appeals to calm to protesters in #Minneapolis are coherent with the inciting of protesters in #HongKong. Why US denies #China’s right to restore peace & order in HK while brutally dispersing crowds at home?” Polyanskiy said, referring to protests in Minneapolis over Floyd’s death.

China added that the attempts by the US and UK to discuss the Hong Kong issue in the Council “failed” as there was no formal discussion on the issue by the Council members, no consensus and no outcome of the meeting.

The Chinese Mission said that the US and the UK have “blatantly interfered” in Hong Kong affairs, emboldened rioters, and threatened and intimidated the HKSAR government “out of a hidden political agenda.”

“They bear unshirkable responsibility for the serious violence in Hong Kong. They have provided massive funding to the so-called opposition engaged in separatist activities, and organised special training on street violence, in order to create conflicts and chaos. The purpose is to plunge Hong Kong and even China as a whole into turmoil,” the Chinese envoy said.

The Chinese envoy said US abuses force, imposes unilateral sanctions, and seeks regime change all over the world.

“I would point out that, it is the US that failed to take a responsible approach and measures to cope with COVID-19 and save lives, leading to deaths of so many innocent people.

Zhang said the US and the UK should immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, “immediately stop practices of hegemonism and power politics, and mind their own business, rather than provoking tensions and making troubles everywhere Any attempt to use Hong Kong to interfere in China’s internal matters is doomed to fail.”

UK Charge d’Affaires to the UN Ambassador Jonathan Allen said China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with Beijing’s international obligations under the provisions of the legally binding, UN-registered, UK-China Joint Declaration.

“As such, this is a matter of legitimate international concern. We expect China to act like a responsible international player and fulfil their treaty obligations and responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration. We hope the Chinese government will pause and reflect on the serious and legitimate concerns this proposal has raised both within Hong Kong and around the world,” Allen said.

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