Chinese state media has lashed out at “China-haters” as it defends the nation’s proposals to enforce new national security legislation on Hong Kong in the wake of last year’s extradition bill protests.
State-owned publication The China Daily hit out at the “hysterical outburst” from Western “China bashers” after several politicians worldwide questioned its push for new laws which pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong described as the end of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle adopted after Hong Kong was handed over to China by the UK in 1997.
And while not directly mentioned in the editorial piece titled ‘China-haters' hypocrisy knows no bounds’, Australia has been one of the more vocal nations in opposing the new laws Beijing plan to impose on the special administrative region.
"We are deeply concerned at proposals for introducing legislation related to national security in Hong Kong," Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
The China Daily singled out US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of the key players in the deteriorating relations between China and the US, and Chris Patten, the UK’s last governor of Hong Kong, for their remarks when the proposed laws came to light.
Mr Patten, called the move a "comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy" and called for the UK to “tell China this is outrageous”.
‘China will not submit to intimidation’
The China Daily has lambasted such calls as hypocritical, insisting many countries have enacted national security laws, and China’s proposals, which it says will protect Hong Kong from acts of secession, subversion and terrorism, will also be a move to prevent foreign interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.
“Pompeo, Patten and the others can spout whatever "double standards and gangster logic" they like,” the editorial said.
“But as a spokesperson for the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong said, no matter how venomously they try to smear, provoke or coerce China, the Chinese government will not submit to intimidation or threats.”
The editorial insists the legislation will actually support Hong Kong in exercising its elevated levels of independence from the Chinese government.
“No one with their heart in the right place would question a sovereign state's right to protect its national interests by plugging a national security loophole in its territory. Yet China-bashers in the West have taken issue with the legislature's move to fulfil its constitutional responsibility,” it said.
Last year’s protests in Hong Kong continue to be a contentious issue between China and the people of Hong Kong, with Beijing regularly branding the protests as riots, such a claim strongly refuted by many Hongkongers who accuse police and authorities of excessive brutality amid the protests.
Beijing is now moving to crack down on a minority which it labels terrorists and claims were responsible for the violent and ugly scenes that tainted what were largely peaceful protests.
The latest criticism of Western politicians in what has become a routine and ugly back-and-forth involving China looks set to worsen relations further.
Infuriated by what it perceives as a political agenda, China has lashed out at the two countries repeatedly, with speculation rife that recent import restrictions slapped on Australian beef and barley by the Chinese is retaliation for its stance on a COVID-19 investigation.
On Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson called on Australia to “stand up” to the US over its “foreign interference”, while slamming sections of the Morrison government over recent remarks.
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