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[國際新聞] Trump Calls Hong Kong Protests ‘Riots,’ Adopting China Rhetoric

resident Donald Trump labeled recent protests in Hong Kong as “riots,” adopting the language used by Chinese authorities and suggesting the U.S. would stay out of an issue that was “between Hong Kong and China.”
“Something is probably happening with Hong Kong, because when you look at, you know, what’s going on, they’ve had riots for a long period of time,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday before departing for a campaign rally in Cincinnati.
Trump said he didn’t know what China’s attitude was toward unrest in the former British colony, which is home to tens of thousands of Americans. “Somebody said that at some point they’re going to want to stop that,” Trump said. “But that’s between Hong Kong and that’s between China, because Hong Kong is a part of China.”


Donald Trump speaks to members of the media on Aug. 1.
               
Trump’s comments about the protests in Hong Kong could bolster the city’s Beijing-backed government to crack down, despite the U.S. State Department’s official efforts to defend protesters’ freedom of expression. Protests erupted outside police stations earlier this week when the Hong Kong government charged 44 demonstrators with a colonial-era rioting statute that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.                                

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The Global Times, a nationalistic newspaper published by China’s Communist Party, signaled approval with an article headlined “Trump tells truth about HK riot.” The ruling party has long used such allegations to justify using force against dissidents, dubbing the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square a “counter-revolutionary riot.”
Trump administration officials said Friday the president had no intention to signal a policy change or an endorsement of China’s position.        
        
“The use of the term riot is a bit sensitive to the protesters,” said Joseph Cheng, a retired political science professor who is involved in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. “More significant still, I think people will pay attention to the fact that he said this is something between China and Hong Kong. It appears to the Hong Kong people that the Hong Kong issue is not an important issue in the agenda of the president.”               
Hong Kong protesters have so far largely enjoyed support from American officials and business groups. Activist Joshua Wong urged the president to reconsider his comments, tweeting an Aug. 1 letter from American lawmakers including Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, urging the White House to condemn Beijing’s actions.

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