Iran and China seize on riots to blast American leaders

State-controlled media in China and Iran highlight the violence of U.S. demonstrations to undermine American officials’ criticism of their own nations.

By Associated Press

Nations around the world have watched in horror at the five days of civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.

While thousands gathered in London, Berlin, and other European locales, the state-controlled media in countries with authoritarian regimes have been highlighting the chaos and violence of the U.S. demonstrations, in part to undermine American officials’ criticism of their own nations.

In China, the protests are being viewed through the prism of U.S. government criticism of China’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted that U.S. officials can now see protests out of their own windows: “I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”

Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign ministry spokeswoman, pointed out America’s racial unrest by tweeting “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd said before his death.

In Iran, which has violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest.

One TV anchor discussed “a horrible scene from New York, where police attacked protesters.” Another state TV message accused U.S. police agencies in Washington of “setting fire to cars and attacking protesters,” without offering any evidence.

Russia accused the United States of “systemic problems in the human rights sphere.” It denounced Floyd’s death as the latest in a series of police violence against African-Americans.

“This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.”