Double standards on Hong Kong and Catalonia will backfire

China Plus Published: 2019-10-20 14:08:11
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Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

The Spanish Supreme Court a week ago sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to prison terms of between nine and 13 years for sedition and misuse of funds linked to the Catalan independence referendum on Oct. 1, 2017, which was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.

Since then, there have been ongoing violent protests and hundreds of arrests in Barcelona.

Spanish Home Affairs Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska warned of heavy sentences of up to six years in prison for those arrested, saying the government was "going to apply the penal code with all of its strength against the violent separatism which attacks the law."

A policeman tries to extinguish a barricade on fire on a highway in Barcelona, Spain, October 18, 2019. [Photo: IC]

A policeman tries to extinguish a barricade on fire on a highway in Barcelona, Spain, October 18, 2019. [Photo: IC]

In contrast to the support shown for the Hong Kong riots, western governments and media have for the most part kept silent on the ongoing Catalan situation.

Gavin Newlands, a member of the Scottish parliament, said on his Twitter account that "as of 0707 there was still nothing on the events in Catalonia last night on BBC News. But there is a piece on Hong Kong politicians shouting in Parliament."

M D Nalapat, an Indian scholar from Manipal University, commented in an article published in the Pakistan Observer that "there are moments when silence is shameful, and this is what is happening in the wake of the Madrid Court showing a contempt for the very European values that Brussels prides itself on."

The way media organizations from western countries address the issues in Hong Kong and Catalonia shows the double standards that are applied in interfering in other countries' internal affair to suit their own interests. There seems to be a western media blackout on the Catalonia situation due to concerns that the violent acts will spread out to other places. Whereas in Hong Kong, they are thinking and doing the complete opposite. They put up the pretense of "wishing the best for Hong Kong," but are actually secretly hoping for the riots to escalate and hinder China's development.

However, history has proven that their double standards will not help maintain their interests, and will backfire on them. With the latest protests in other part of the world, it is apparent that violent acts by radical Hong Kong protesters are being copied by people in western countries. Apart from the separatist acts in Spain, radical environmentalists from western countries have also staged "Extinction Rebellion" protests in over 20 cities around the world, with some of their strategies and methods reportedly coming from Hong Kong protesters.

As much as the rule of law is respected and valued in western countries, no country that governs with law will allow situations similar to that of Hong Kong to happen. Those countries which help fan the violence in Hong Kong are hurting themselves and will be crushed by their own weight.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.