US using Hong Kong protests to inflame public opinion against China
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US using Hong Kong protests to inflame public opinion against China

Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks. China has denounced as “irresponsible and erroneous” the US comments about a proposed amendment to a Hong Kong law that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China to face trial. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks during a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday and called on the United States to stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs. “We demand that the US side…be cautious and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any form,” Geng said. The Chinese official’s comments came in response to a US warning on Monday that the amendment allowing criminal extradition to mainland China could undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and negatively impact the territory’s longstanding human rights and democratic values. The US State Department claimed that Washington was “gravely concerned” about the extradition bill. Professor Etler said, “Pictures of large demonstrations protesting against the proposed extradition bill before the Hong Kong Legislative Council belie what is really at stake. The numbers game is meaningless. Crowd estimates by the Western media of one million may be grossly inflated. The official count is 150,000, but it’s anyone's guess as to how large they were. What counts is not the numbers but the motivation? In reality, the demonstrations are not so much against the extradition bill as they are a reactionary backlash against Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong.” “Although the bill is still being debated, it has been seized upon by enemies of the Chinese government to push their pro-Western agenda. It is no mystery that there are forces in Hong Kong who still identify with their former colonial masters and will do anything to create chaos in order to disrupt relations with the mainland. The proposed extradition treaty is just the latest excuse to do so,” he added. “Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with many countries, including the US. The United States–Hong Kong Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders was ratified in 1997. It is rather incongruous that Hong Kong, a legal entity under the jurisdiction of China, has an extradition agreement with the US but not with the mainland, Macao or Taiwan,” he said. “The bill is being portrayed by its opponents as giving China the ability to extradite its political opponents who operate freely in Hong Kong, which has laws different than those in the rest of China. The bill however has safeguards to prevent politically motivated extradition requests from the Chinese government and any extradition proceedings would be adjudicated by the independent Hong Kong judiciary. The charge that the bill will be abused for political purposes is thus a red herring. The clear intent of those opposing the bill is to defame China and cast aspersions upon it,” he stated. “The same actors who staged the Occupy Central protests in Hong Kong in 2014 are using the extradition treaty to once again fan the flames of resistance to Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong. They see it as a last ditch attempt to revive their fortunes which have recently been on the wane,” he noted. “The US, which is in a protracted battle to stymie China’s economic and diplomatic rise, is using the renewed protests to score political points and increase pressure on Beijing. For the US to criticize the Hong Kong authorities or China in regard to extradition procedures is however the height of absurdity. The US is infamous for its unlawful practice of extraordinary rendition, the practice of kidnapping or capturing people and sending them to countries where they face a high risk of torture or abuse in interrogations.  The US has used this illegal technique to imprison foreign nationals at Guantanamo Bay for decades without recourse to any legal constraints,” he said. “The US also extends its laws beyond its own territory and demands extradition of individuals who have committed no crime within its own jurisdiction as is the case with Meng Wanzhou the CFO of the Chinese electronics company Huawei who is accused of violating sanctions imposed by the US on Iran. For the US to criticize anyone for potentially abusing an extradition agreement is beyond the pale,” the analyst said. “The US government and the Western media will use these protests to continue to impugn China’s integrity and inflame public opinion in their ongoing propaganda war to discredit China and its government. Their admonitions however cannot be taken seriously,” he concluded.

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