Turkey, Iran and China want to exploit U.S. unrest - WSJ

Turkey, Iran and China want to exploit the current civil unrest in the United States in the hope of discrediting the country and delegitimising the American legal system, the Wall Street Journal said in an op-ed.

“The world’s strongmen are seizing gleefully on the death of George Floyd and the riots that followed,” it said, referring to the death of a 46-year-old African-American from injuries sustained when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Video of the incident showed Floyd handcuffed on the ground, pleading for air.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who the WSJ said was “last seen stamping out his political opposition and forcibly displacing Kurds in Syria”, sent his condolences to Floyd’s family on Friday.
Erdoğan said the victim died as a result of torture and the killing was “one of the most painful manifestations of the unjust order we stand against across the world”.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei followed Erdoğan’s example over the weekend by criticising America’s institutional racism.

“If you’re dark-skinned walking in the U.S., you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes,” the Iranian leader said, according to the Journal.

The Iranian government, a long-time rival of the United States, maintains a long track record of human rights violations, including harsh penalties for crimes, torture, the persecution of minorities, the execution of offenders under 18 years of age and restrictions on freedom of speech.

The WSJ also cited China’s response to the anti-racism protests, saying that Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, hoping to encourage Americans’ civil unrest, promoted a New York Times article sympathetic of the U.S. riots.

“On the other hand, Beijing wants to use America’s riots to justify crushing Hong Kong’s democracy movement and arresting its peaceful leaders,” the op-ed said, referring to a resurgence in protests in the Chinese-ruled territory.

China has also conducted a sweeping security crackdown on Uighur Muslims, many of whom are sent to detention camps. The Chinese government has strongly denied the mass arrests.

“These regimes benefit from collapsing the difference between the rule of law and its absence,” WSJ said. “Violence and injustice exist in every society, but in the U.S. they can be, and are, exposed publicly and addressed through legislation and courts.”

The Journal labelled the public reactions by Turkey, Iran and China as acts of “cynical opportunism” and an “ultimate betrayal of the memory of George Floyd”.

“Their goal is more cynically opportunistic: Convince the world that multi-ethnic liberal society is bankrupt, so the strong can more easily prey on the weak,” it said.