• China arrested more than 360 people in Hong Kong Monday, including schoolchildren in uniform
  • Chinese state-run companies reportedly were ordered to stop making U.S. agriculture purchases following Trump's statement on Hong Kong's special trade status
  • U.S. adversaries see racial unrest and the widespread arrests resulting from protests as hypocritical in light of statements on Chinese action in Hong Kong

Chinese government officials Monday reportedly ordered some state-run firms to stop buying U.S. agriculture products following the U.S. decision to end Hong Kong’s special trade status as Beijing sought to stamp out pro-democracy demonstrations in the former British colony.

At the same time, China accused the U.S. of hypocrisy in light of the nationwide protest violence that are sweeping America in the wake of the death of a black Minneapolis man at the hands of a white police officer.

Demonstrators broke windows, looted stores and set property and police vehicles ablaze during the weekend in protests against the death of Floyd George, who died as a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

Chicago closed off its downtown area Monday to anyone except residents and essential workers, blocking highway ramps and eliminating bus and train service. Similar actions were taken in other cities to quell the violence as National Guard troops were activated. Clashes outside the White House prompted the Secret Service to rush President Trump into the bunker.

Bloomberg News quoted sources as saying Cofco and Sinograin were ordered to stop buying U.S. agriculture products – a major tenet of the trade agreement signed in January by Washington and Beijing – but no similar order was given to private firms. Trump on Friday said he would end Hong Kong’s special trade status, one day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China’s imposition of a security law to tighten its grip on the city ended Hong Kong’s autonomy.

More than 360 people were arrested across Hong Kong Monday as protests continued, including young children in school uniforms. China’s National People’s Congress last week adopted a security law prohibiting what it considers acts of secession, subversion, terrorism or conspiracy with foreigners, fanning a resurgence of the pro-democracy protests that had waned as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies have been escalating since last month as Trump tried to ratchet up anger at China for the spread of the coronavirus and mounting deaths from COVID-19. By late morning Monday, more than 372,600 people had died globally, more than 104,400 in the U.S.

China said Monday it would take countermeasures against the U.S. Hong Kong action.

“The announced measures severely interfere with China’s internal affairs, damage U.S.-China relations, and will harm both sides. China is firmly opposed to this,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

The unrest in the United States was a gift to Chinese officials. The chief spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hua Chunying, tweeted, “I can’t breathe” in response to a State Department tweet in support of Hong Kong.

The unrest and Trump’s tweets about the violence exacerbating the situation have prompted protests against Floyd’s death across the globe and brought criticism from several countries, including Russia where the Foreign Ministry called Floyd’s killing the latest “in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement.”

“American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Iran also took a swipe. An account associated with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted: “If you’re dark-skinned walking in the U.S., you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes.”