This month, China imposed on Hong Kong new national security laws aimed at quashing political opposition to the ruling Communist Party.
This comprehensive new national security law has been described as an affront to the human rights of the citizens of the former British colony.
It was reported in The New York Times to be “Conceived in secrecy and passed… without serious input from Hong Kong authorities, the law sets up a vast security apparatus in the territory and gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including separatism and collusion.”
In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on a press call that: “Yesterday the Chinese Communist Party implemented its draconian national security law on Hong Kong, in violation of commitments that it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom, in a UN-registered treaty — and in contravention of Hong Kongers’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
“Free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous, and dynamic cities. Now it will be just another communist-run city, where its people will be subject to the party elite’s whims. It’s sad.” Pompeo said. “Indeed, this is already happening. Security forces are already rounding up Hong Kongers for daring to speak and think freely. The rule of law has been eviscerated. And as always, the Chinese Communist Party fears its own people more than anything else.”
“The United States is deeply concerned about the law’s sweeping provisions and the safety of everyone living in the territory, including Americans,” he continued. “Article 38 of the new law also purports to apply to offenses committed outside of Hong Kong by non-residents of Hong Kong, and this likely includes Americans. This is outrageous and an affront to all nations.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the one taken by Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times of police officers making an arrest in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, says it all.
Pompeo is correct: China has a checkered human rights and international law violations record — on land and sea — and it is right that the highest echelons of the U.S. government speak out against Chinese abuses, and I applaud him for that portion of his statement.
But I am perplexed. For you see, while Pompeo is justifiably critical of the Chinese, our own government is replicating the actions of Chinese federal police with unidentified U.S. federal agents in Portland, Oregon.
The secretary’s boss, President Trump, is also threatening to send agents to Chicago, New York City and other locations where the political leadership is in opposition to him — and where American citizens are in the streets protesting non-judicial killings by law enforcement personnel of their fellow black and brown citizens.
For the record, I do not support violent protest and believe that my late, great Phi Beta Sigma fraternity brother — Rep. John Lewis — carved a path we should follow in peaceful civil disobedience: “Get in good and necessary trouble.”
If a Portland picture could speak a thousand words, I offer the beating and chemical spraying of my fellow U.S. Navy veteran, 53-year-old Christopher David. David approached masked, camouflage-uniformed, unidentifiable U.S. federal agents to ask who they were, what agency they were from and what was their mission and orders in Portland.
He raised concerns about chemically gassed moms; why they were abducting people from the streets of Portland in ways that appeared to violate many U.S. Constitutional laws, principles and values; and whether they were going to beat up a retired U.S. Navy vet.
David was wearing his U.S. Naval Academy Alumni sweatshirt to support his identity. They did not verbally answer his questions, but proceeded to beat him with their batons, breaking his arm — and finally, chemically spraying him directly in his face.
So, as we correctly chasten China — in contrast we send a masked, camouflage-uniformed, unidentifiable federal agent strike team to take the fight to American’s protesting in our streets.
The Portland mayor and chief of police both said they did not want these agents and have asked them to leave.
But instead, the president and his cohorts deny these requests and refuse to acknowledge the reality of the reason Portland’s citizens and millions of other Americans are in the streets — protesting violations of U.S. human rights and U.S. Constitutional principles and values.
The re-exposed racial discriminatory history of our nation, and its lasting and long-term effects, may outshine China in depth and breath. The current level of protest in America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and many others is a human rights/racial history awakening of the likes of the so-called, 2011 “Arab Spring.”
The Arab Spring was an international human rights movement that swept the Middle East and North Africa.
When my former active-duty missions would take me to the Middle East and Africa to teach international law, human rights and lessons about the military role in subordination to civilian-Constitutional authority, my teams and I would always be asked about Abu Ghraib prison and American slavery.
I suspect my successors will need a new FAQ sheet that includes answers about George Floyd’s murder, Black Live Matter Summer 2020 and the de facto suspension of our First Amendment rights.
While the pinnacle of U.S. leadership seeks to avoid acknowledging “America’s Original Sin,” the rest of the Atlantic slave trade world, has begun to soul-search about its own involvement in the world’s greatest genocide and human rights violation. Today, BLM Summer 2020, has the world in the streets during a pandemic — and down on one knee.
Global citizens are demanding the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Belgium and several others atone for a brutal, inhumane past and a present in need of immediate police reform and real racial equality.
But, instead, we have federal police in the streets of America dressed in U.S. military appropriated, regular issue camouflage uniforms, that bear no reasonable identifying insignia, riding around in unmarked civilian vehicles abducting people. To compound that, armed militia members wearing similar military-style uniforms and gear are trolling the protesters.
Our leaders have correctly turned their eyes toward China to rightfully condemn its treatment of Hong Kong’s people and, I fear, to see what lessons they can borrow to try out at home against American citizens.