The US House has passed a resolution to formally condemn the Chinese government and the Hong Kong regional government for actions that "violate the rights and freedoms" of the region's citizens MSN News. The timeline of the movement is depicted in this CNN article. And the escalated Chinese Government's response/tightening is covered in this NPR report.

My question is, what exactly is the difference, politically speaking, between the HK protest and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection? And why does the US government take a different stance on the issues? What is the justification for the US position?

Edit: A few comments disputed/rejected the parallel between the two events. As a rebuke to the validity of my question, I would like to hear those arguments too. (Note, those arguments potentially can be the justification for the different stances of the US towards the matters.)

Further Edit: Before this post been closed, I would like to express my concern and worry that, if nobody in the US/Western World can clearly point out the differences to justify the US's stances on these matters, then how the US can later condemn other countries for arguably similar internal unrest suppression on the moral ground.

  • 3
    I’m not sure what you mean by “the difference, politically speaking”. If you’re simply asking how they’re different, that’s pretty trivial and not really a political question.
    – divibisan
    Jun 12, 2021 at 17:38
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    I have not yet read that the US government is extraditing the 1/6 insurrectionists to Berkeley CA or Madison WI for trial and subsequent hanging (or possibly, subsequent re-education). Jun 12, 2021 at 17:53
  • 3
    Yeah, the more I think about this, the harder it is to think of any clear parallels. Maybe you should edit your question to explain how they are similar and why you should expect a similar response?
    – divibisan
    Jun 12, 2021 at 18:11
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    No parallel? Both events were politically driven by the people opposite their government or political establishment. Both involved violence, state forces, and subsequent accusations, arrests, and criminal prosecutions. David's comment reminds me of the story - a soldier retreated 50 yards to avoid fighting the enemy, then laughed and pointed at another soldier as a coward for whom has retreated 100 yards. Maybe that's the difference among the soldiers but will not have any significance under the court of law.
    – r13
    Jun 12, 2021 at 18:29
  • It should be noted that it's mainly just the Democrats who considered the Jan 6 protest to be an insurrection. Many Republicans either downplay its severity (one said they looked like tourists), or consider it justified because they support the "big lie". So it seems wrong to describe anything about Jan 6 as the "US stance".
    – Barmar
    Jun 14, 2021 at 19:20

3 Answers 3

  1. The bases for arrest are not same. In the US, only directly participated in storming the Capitol has been a basis for criminal prosecution (Trump faced impeachment, but that's not a criminal proceeding). There was a storming of the Hong Kong legislature, but the arrests have not been confined to solely the people who participated in that, but rather it has been used as a pretext for general arrests of anyone opposing the CCP.

  2. Whether rights are being violated is different. Britain handed Hong Kong over to China under the agreement that Hong Kong autonomy would be respected. Thus, the people of Hong Kong have a legal basis for claiming that their right are being violated. The US constitution, on the other hand, provides no right to storm the Capitol.

  3. The governments are different. The American government is democratically elected. Trying to overthrow it is an act of tyranny. The CCP is not democratically elected, and so even if the arrested people had been trying to overthrow it, their actions would be fighting tyranny.

  • For point 1, please provide records or references to back up your claim. For point 2, if the HK people have the right to violently asking their's rights, don't the US citizens arguably have the same right to ask election fairness? I'll leave point 3 to people more knowledge on the different forms of governments and the legitimacy of their political systems/believes.
    – r13
    Jun 13, 2021 at 20:16
  • Britain handed Hong Kong over to China under the agreement that Hong Kong autonomy would be respected. --- but, the UK also knew that China believes in a 1-country 2-system policy, and China gave HK 50 years to comply with this policy. This has to start somewhere, right? Also, foreign intervention is a big problem felt by the Chinese govt.
    – user366312
    Jun 13, 2021 at 20:25
  • The simple statement "The governments are different" is troublesome, as Russian and Chinese governments often criticize the US's democracy system as a failed experiment. It won't stop the counter-accusations.
    – r13
    Jun 13, 2021 at 20:33

Just as two people who have done the same thing will never be treated the same before the law (despite claims of the contrary), will the actions of two political systems/administrations never be judged independent of context.

If you have a long history of criminal misconduct, and you are acquainted to some other well-known delinquents, you will naturally experience less sympathy from the judge than if you have broken the law never before. The idea that right or wrong can be derived by a set of simple, automatic rules, that take into account only superficial information about an individual, has been driven to perfection by the concept of the chinese social credit system.

Therefore, it's time for the chinese communist party to live up to their own standards, meaning that they first have to face the ugly truth: their social credit score is at -1,000,000 points, for their human rights abuse against the Uyghurs, for forced organ transplants and for the Tiananmen massacre and the ongoing suppression of the truth about this and other "long marches" towards covert national socialism.

If they want to be judged the same for the same actions as the US, they should begin to work their way up to 0 social credit points (where supposedly the US and other western democracies are located). From there it is still some effort to reach net positive social credit, something which I sadly would not attribute to any political system in the world.

  • 1
    I applaud your response, fair and square without bias.
    – r13
    Jun 13, 2021 at 21:00
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    Well, I think that's an exaggeration. Of course I am biased, in that I value social freedom very high. But not everybody does that and thus, may come to a different evaluation. I am shocked everytime I hear somebody praising the chinese system for its suppression of freedom, but these are real opinions, and we better learn why people are willing to abandon their natural freedom.
    – user20276
    Jun 13, 2021 at 21:05
  • No one here is given Chinese the credit it does not deserve. But generally speaking, when we criticize someone else, we better have looked into the mirror and get to know ourselves to defend our stance. Oliver has provided an answer I can use to respond to my friends without getting into ideological fights (bias) that often seem as non-fruitful, or barking on the wrong tree.
    – r13
    Jun 13, 2021 at 21:17
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    We can look in the mirror and see full well that the western world is far better than the realm of the CCP.
    – acpilot
    Jun 14, 2021 at 4:22
  • This opinionated answer would benefit from citations as whether or not the opinions given actually correspond to the "US stance", (i.e. some official statement), or, if there is more than one stance, it should identify those officials and factions that agree with this answer.
    – agc
    Aug 7, 2021 at 1:34

...then how the US can later condemn other countries for arguably similar internal unrest suppression on the moral ground.

An underlying premise of such a statement seems to be that critics should and must practice what they preach, and therefore that hypocrites have no right to be critics.

To the contrary, a hypocrite can be an excellent critic. And two opposing hypocrite critics who each offer good critiques of the other's faults, (but of course never their own), in effect achieve much the same public result as if neither were hypocrites -- the faults of each are made public, almost as if each critic were humble, self-critical, and themselves confessed their mistakes publicly.

So if the US hypocritically complains about say, the errors of Russia or China which mirror the same things the US does itself, the important thing is whether those complaints are correct, and also whether Russia or China's hypocritical counter complaints are correct. It can be good for both sides.

Because competing personal faults cancel each other out, and can produce a positive public outcome it's a bit like Adam Smith's Invisible Hand; or two grooming chimpanzees, each taking turns picking bugs off of the other's back.

  • Firstly, I don't think a "formal condemnation" is as causal as a slap on the hand, rather it is on the face. It escalates the confrontation and retaliation usually follows. Secondly, you are either quite naive or do not read the history of the US-Russia relationship dating back to the time of czar; and more recently, US-Iran and US-North Korea. Please provide examples of positive outcomes resulting from one country condemns the other.
    – r13
    Jun 19, 2021 at 15:34
  • @r13 Re "Please provide examples of positive outcomes...": this Q. is not about positive thinking or affirmations. Good criticism mainly achieves negative outcomes, or perhaps hastens such outcomes. Well founded critiques indicate serious errors, flaws, or weaknesses, such that even if nobody notices a problem, any such problem will eventually become so compounded and harmful that everyone must notice it. Correct critique is a smoke detector that allows extinguishing a small fire before it grows and kills people.
    – agc
    Jun 20, 2021 at 4:02
  • You are confusing me with Adam Smith's example, then turned around you say "Good criticism mainly achieves negative outcomes, or perhaps hastens such outcomes.". Also please note my emphasis on the word "condemnation" which I believe is more serious and critical than "critique".
    – r13
    Jun 20, 2021 at 16:41

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