- Yonden Lhatoo calls out grandstanding American politicians who care nothing for the well-being of the city while using it as a pawn against Beijing
I sat and suffered through a 45-minute media session with Ted Cruz some weeks ago at the US consul general's home in Hong Kong, listening to the Republican senator pontificate about the worst political and social crisis since the city's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Fashionably unshaven and dressed in black from head to toe, cowboy boots and all, like some bloated John Wick wannabe, Cruz announced that he was wearing the colour of the anti-government protest movement in solidarity with Hong Kong's "freedom fighters", and proceeded to chastise both the city's government and its masters in Beijing.
What struck me, beyond his sanctimoniously inflammatory and accusatory political rhetoric, was his complete cluelessness about both the actual situation in Hong Kong and the dynamics of the city's relationship with mainland China.
He sermonised about how repressive and intolerant the Hong Kong government had become " never mind that he had not only been allowed to enter the city but also to openly bad mouth its officials. And he railed against Beijing, gloating that it was "terrified" of how China's larger population was reacting to the civil unrest in Hong Kong " oblivious to the fact that the anarchy plaguing our city of 7.5 million actually works to the Communist Party's propagandist advantage in convincing more than 1.4 billion people across the border that without its unifying leadership, the alternative is chaos of this sort.
Even more astonishing, on the very day that radical protesters were firebombing a train station and vandalising public property in the name of democracy, was Cruz's insistence that he himself had never heard, or seen evidence, of violence till date over more than four months of lawlessness.
And yet there he was, grandstanding to glory, playing the great white saviour to an audience of star-spangled-banner-waving natives who naively believe that unscrupulous American politicians have the best interests of Hongkongers at heart when they push for legislation aimed at penalising the city to spite Beijing in the name of protecting our rights and freedoms.
Cruz has been trumpeting a bill to amend the US-Hong Kong Policy Act, effectively blackmailing the city with the threat of stripping it of its special trading status. Two other China-hating xenophobes in the US Senate, Marco Rubio and Jim Risch, are now trying to fast track the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would not only require the State Department to regularly certify whether the city deserves to be treated differently from the rest of the country, but could also impose sanctions against officials deemed to have violated rights and freedoms here.
Taiwan is playing Hong Kong like a fiddle while the city burns
It would be great if any of these people actually gave a damn about the well-being of Hongkongers, but they don't. It's all about reckless showboating, politicking and exploiting Hong Kong as a pawn in Washington's bigger battle against Beijing.
Another egregious example of political parading was last month's Senate bill calling for a ban on the sale of crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong's law enforcement agencies. Shameless virtue signalling by the same bunch of deplorables who won't stop their own government from supplying weapons of mass murder to brutal regimes which are deploying them to massacre men, women and children.
Talk about double standards on steroids. The incredible hypocrisy of it all makes my head hurt.
"How can Ted Cruz be an evangelical Christian when he lies and is so dishonest?" US President Donald Trump once asked. The pot may be calling the kettle black, but they are both of the same hue.
Hypocrisy is the name of this despicable game, and the sad loser, in every sense, is Hong Kong as it sinks deeper into the abyss.
Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post
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