Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley returned Tuesday from a trip to Hong Kong to give his take on the protests during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“I saw the protests themselves, Tucker. I said, ‘I don’t want to be cooped up in some hotel, I want to go out to the streets.’ So, we spent hours on the streets … in what turned out to be the biggest area of protests that night,” Hawley said. “And so, I saw the police. I saw them out in force with their riot gear, establishing perimeters. I saw the protesters.”
Hawley then drew attention to how many individuals are partaking in the demonstrations.
“You know, it’s really remarkable the number of protestors … this is a city of 7.5 million people, 2 million people in the streets. This is a protest movement that spans class divides, the people of Hong Kong are united here in standing up to communist China, standing up to Beijing and they are just desperate to preserve their basic liberties,” Hawley continued.
Tucker redirected the conversation towards the protestors’ feelings about rich Americans taking the side of the Chinese government, a point which Hawley acknowledged he discussed with the protestors.
“They just don’t understand it. They say, ‘China is trying to censor the NBA, trying to impose their coercive tactics through the NBA, they are trying to coerce Americans through the NBA and through Apple, frankly,’ and they said ‘listen, you can expect more of the same.’ This is how Beijing operates,” Hawley said. (RELATED: Video Shows Hong Kong Police Officer Getting Flying Kick To The Head)
After Hawley and Tucker tag-teamed taking on multi-national companies like the NBA for “caring more about making a buck and being willing to sell out our basic values,” Hawley outlined the apparently pressing nature of the events in Hong Kong.
“I think most people don’t understand how urgent the situation is in Hong Kong. They don’t realize that Beijing is escalating … they’re becoming a police state,” the senator claimed. “It’s happening right now and they need this country and the international community to stand up and say, ‘hold on, we’re not going to roll over.’”
The protests began early in the summer months when a proposal was brought forth that would allow extradition to mainland China. While the proposal was withdrawn in September, the protestors have listed several other demands including amnesty for arrested protestors, an inquiry into alleged police brutality, and not being categorized as a “riot.”
The youngest member of the U.S. Senate, John Hawley has been a frequent and outspoken critic of the Chinese government for issues ranging from human rights abuses to intellectual property theft to Chinese trade policy.