We’re pleased to republish this article from 2020 by Joshua Cho, originally published in FAIR, about the startling hypocrisy in the media coverage of Hong Kong, particularly when compared to the coverage of Puerto Rico and Palestine. There was a storm of articles about the national security law in Hong Kong, with numerous Western media outlets describing it as an example of “colonialism” – ignoring the rather important fact that Hong Kong is part of China. Meanwhile, these same media outlets participate in a conspiracy of silence around the very real colonialism of the US against the people of Puerto Rico and the Israeli state against the Palestinians.
The article has lost none of its relevance in the period since its original publication.
When China passed a national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, criminalizing terrorism, secession and subversion of the Chinese government, as well as collusion with foreign governments, massive condemnations resounded all over Western media.
Vox (5/21/20) described it as an “official death sentence” for the “one country, two systems” model of governance in Hong Kong. Business Insider’s headline (7/1/20) described China’s national security law as having “killed Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement in less than a year.” The Washington Post (7/3/20) ran an op-ed mocking China’s actions as “nothing less than imperialism with Chinese characteristics.” The Atlantic (7/1/20) described Hong Kong as a “colony once more,” equating the Chinese government with previous British and Japanese “overlords in a distant capital” making “decisions on Hong Kong’s behalf.”
Of course, while Western media describe the national security law as something China “imposed” on Hong Kong, these same outlets rarely if ever present the “one country, two systems” model of governance in Hong Kong as something that was imposed on China by British imperialism, when London refused to unconditionally return the former colony to China. Hong Kong was violently seized from China with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, after the British waged a war to impose the opium trade on China, causing about 90 million Chinese people to develop an addiction by the end of the 19th century.Continue reading Chinese ‘imperialism’ in Hong Kong concerns US Media; Puerto Rican, Palestinian colonies, not so much