World leaders react with shock; China draws HK parallel
Chinese social media erupted in a mixture of glee and schadenfreude yesterday as a mob stormed the United States Capitol, comparing the chaos with anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
Hard-core supporters of US President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke into the building in Washington to protest against his election defeat, ransacking parts of it while scuffling with security personnel. Many took selfies which were widely shared on social media.
The mayhem resembled that in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019, when protesters laid siege to the Legislative Council complex, vandalising and ransacking the main chamber.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also drew parallels with Hong Kong, which has remained a sore point in relations with America, accusing the US of double standards.
“Some people in the United States have very different reactions and words about what happened in Hong Kong in 2019 and what is happening in the United States today,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing yesterday.
“This sharp contrast and the reasons behind it are thought-provoking and worthy of everyone’s consideration.”
In a pinned tweet on its page, state-backed tabloid Global Times shared a series of images contrasting the storming of the Capitol with what occurred in Hong Kong in July 2019.
“@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as ‘a beautiful sight to behold’ – it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill,” the newspaper tweeted, tagging the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mrs Nancy Pelosi.
The Communist Youth League also described the riots as a “beautiful sight” on its Weibo account.
On the Twitter-like Weibo, the hashtag “Trump supporters storm Capitol” racked up 580 million views, with many labelling the mayhem in Washington as “payback” for what they said was US interference in Hong Kong.
“The most beautiful scenery in the world,” read one comment with 4,600 views.
“Pelosi can enjoy the beautiful sight – even at her office desk!” another netizen wrote.
“For such a long time, US politicians called rioters ‘freedom fighters’ in other countries. Now, they finally have retribution!”
Meanwhile, world leaders and governments on Wednesday expressed shock and outrage at the violent events in Washington.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned on Twitter the “disgraceful scenes” in the US Congress, adding that “it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power”.
Some people in the United States have very different reactions and words about what happened in Hong Kong in 2019 and what is happening in the United States today.
Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a video message on Twitter that “what happened today in Washington, DC is not American, definitely.”
“We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy,” he added, speaking in English.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the events, his spokesman said.
“In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “furious and saddened” by the actions of supporters of Mr Trump, and said the President shared blame for the unrest.
“Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible,” she said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “distressed to see news about rioting and violence”.
“Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests,” he tweeted.
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