EYEAFRICA TV: Beijing, China: The difference in media coverage of riots in Catalonia in Spain and Hong Kong in China shows double standards by western media outlets, said a current affairs commentator with China Global Television Network (CGTN).
The violent protests have been taking place in the Catalan region of Spain over the past four days against prison sentences given to 13 Catalan political and social leaders on Monday for their role in the independence referendum held in the region in 2017, which was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Western media, which has been also focusing on Hong Kong riots of late, is now trying to play down the Catalan protests despite jarring similarities of the two protests.
Einar Tangen, the current affairs commentator with CGTN, condemned the mute response from the west as “hypocrisy”.
“It’s pure hypocrisy. I am not saying that they should be supporting it, but you can’t say one is right and the other one is wrong. The EU will not accept, it has said they will not accept an independent Catalonia. So where would Catalonia go? Quite frankly, Catalonia is experiencing, every time these riots happen, more businesses leave,” said Tangen.
The Catalan protests in the past four days have now seen over 100 people arrested and over 200 police officers injured in clashes in Barcelona between security forces and a small, well-organized, yet violent group of demonstrators.
Wednesday night saw the violence escalate as separatists set fire to cars, trash cans and used petrol bombs. Spanish police in turn used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to quell the violence.
Tangen said the reaction of Spanish police shows the restraint of Hong Kong police, which has been often vilified by western media.
“This is a perfect example, mobs are mobs. They don’t think, they don’t have leaders, they just react. They see a car, they set it on fire. They see police, they want to charge and fight with them. But you will notice, there is very very different reaction by the Spanish police to these types of things, and it shows just what restraint has been shown by the Hong Kong police,” said Tangen.