Putting Hong Kong and other Chinese security developments in perspective (Part 2)
Updated 22:35, 03-Aug-2020
Josef Gregory Mahoney
Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden addresses attendees through video link at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, November 4, 2019. /AP

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden addresses attendees through video link at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal, November 4, 2019. /AP

Editor's note: Josef Gregory Mahoney is a professor of politics at East China Normal University. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Assassinations, extraordinary renditions, secret prisons, torture

The U.S. frequently accuses China of violating international laws and standards that Washington itself openly flaunts. In fact, whether revealed by leaks, hacks by Edward Snowden or by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism, the U.S. routinely violates its own and international laws against foreign countries, allies and even U.S. citizens, who are subject to star chambers, spying and increasingly under Trump, unconstitutional search and seizures by "little green men."

In fact, many of the laws Washington accuses China of violating internationally the U.S. does not even subscribe to itself, and those which it does support, like the Geneva Convention, are subverted by an imperial presidency and twisted legal arguments that have "legitimized" seizing by force foreign nationals on foreign soil, taking them secretly to black prisons sites, with many cases of torture and murder to follow, either directly from the hand of U.S. agents or complicit allies or to simply assassinate them.

China's record is by no means spotless. Perhaps it's true, as Machiavelli argued scandalously, that a strong sovereign power must sometimes act in ways that debase human sensitivities, and perhaps even gratuitously in some cases, as he likewise argues, to make matters of power uncontestably clear, and as the Defense Science Board likewise argued in 2004 to Pentagon and U.S. political leaders in the midst of the war in Iraq – that the U.S. should learn from the Roman Empire and do unto the Iraqis what the Romans did to the Jews at Masada.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill about the Trump administration's policies on Iran, Iraq and the use of force, in Washington, DC, February 28, 2020. /AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill about the Trump administration's policies on Iran, Iraq and the use of force, in Washington, DC, February 28, 2020. /AP

Let's not forget that even Trump argues that the Iraq War was grossly misguided, or his suggestion that some of his Republican predecessors were essentially war criminals, or the various human catastrophes it spawned that continue today.

Indeed, let's not forget the overwhelming evidence that war was perpetrated by bald face lies and fake intelligence presented to the United Nations.

And let's not forget the UN ruling that Trump's recent assassination of the Iranian general was unlawful or Trump's tacit admission that he did it for personal political gain during his impeachment trial for, ironically enough, conducting foreign policy in self-serving ways and contrary to American and international laws.

Perspective, perspective, perspective…

Whether or not we judge China's actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong as heavy handed, whether or not we understand these as being unlawful or merely unfortunate but necessary responses to events that clearly created terror and undermined national sovereignty, whether we criticize, apologize or only wince, there is something telling in a taunt from Lau Hong, one of those who recently fled to the UK and now faces charges in Hong Kong: "Come arrest me in the UK... I am not worried. The British government and MPs (Members of Parliament) have been supporting pro-democracy protests. If the HK government breaks the law in the UK, it would be sanctioned quickly."

Such confidence! Would he say the same if Washington was his adversary? Would he even still be alive not to mention unscarred if Hong Kong police has been as brutal as his supporters allege? Would he have escaped Hong Kong if the rule of law was not followed? 

Putting Hong Kong and other Chinese security developments in perspective (Part 1)

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