China Monday strongly criticized the French and European reaction to protests in Hong Kong calling it hypocritical and telling France to show empathy after it experienced its own violent demonstrations. Accusing the EU of having "publicly glorified the abuses of rioters," China's embassy in Paris said the EU's call for de-escalation and restraint was "criminal and very dangerous" and amounted to an attack on the Hong Kong police's right to self-defense.
It said France should show solidarity, given its police force had also experienced violent protests and been under constant criticism and insults from a "malicious fringe" of people. "In these circumstances, we showed empathy for France. We would like it to show today the same spirit towards us," the embassy said in its statement.
Demonstrations began on June 9 against a controversial piece of legislation that would have allowed for criminal extradition to mainland China. Since then, however, they have spiraled into a larger anti-government movement and the worst political crisis since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997. China earlier condemned "gross interference" by Western countries, especially the U.S. and Britain, while accusing them of fomenting the demonstrations. It has denounced the protests and warned of the damage to the economy of Hong Kong, a major financial center. It also framed the protests as "terrorism," part of a pattern of increasingly ominous warnings that have raised fears it might deploy force to quell the unrest.