The West’s hypocrisy over Hong Kong’s human rights
- Hong Kong has been lambasted at the United Nations for supposed erosion of our freedoms, but the critics should take a look in the mirror
Hong Kong’s human rights situation is neither better nor worse than most Western democracies. We are no less free today than we were before 1997.
We may be better off in some respects, worse off in others. For example, when it comes to police brutality, and prison corruption and violence, our law enforcement agencies are far more civilised than many of their Western counterparts.
That’s why the latest denunciation of Hong Kong’s human rights record by an alliance of 45 local NGOs at a United Nations committee is a complete charade, as are those made by Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the United States.
We do have serious problems with social privation and extreme inequality. These are things we need to improve. But they are hardly unique to us. Nor will external interference help, except to make things worse.
We don’t have a free press? It’s those same media outlets that keep complaining freely about that. Every year, there are more NGOs being formed to claim our civil liberties are being eroded.
Unlike Spain, we haven’t jailed or detained secessionists solely because they advocated independence. Funny how Western states have been pretty quiet about Spain.
We haven’t bombed news bureaus and killed foreign journalists like the US military. Unlike the US and Britain, we almost never refuse entry to foreign journalists or harass them. British journalist Victor Mallet’s work visa refusal? That was one exception, yet fully justified.
Our treatment of asylum seekers is not nice, but at least we let them stay. What does Australia do? Its military intercepts migrant boats, usually to tow them back to Indonesia or just send them away on dinghies or lifeboats. Those who make it past the military are sent to camps in Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Manus Island.
Inadequate facilities, poor hygiene, cramped conditions and unrelenting heat are the least of their problems; gang violence and rape present far greater dangers.
The US has just deployed the military to stop a “caravan” of exhausted Latin American asylum seekers, many of them women, children and babies.
France’s treatment of its own Muslim population? It has banned the hijab. More than a dozen French towns have banned “burkinis” on beaches where police force Muslim women to undress and show skin.
Western countries that have treated people far worse than we have are sitting in judgment of us. Is this a bad joke?