The New York Times published an opinion piece on Thursday from a pro-Beijing official in Hong Kong who accused pro-democracy protesters there of “stirring up chaos” against “our motherland.”
In the article, entitled, “Hong Kong is China, Like it or Not,” Regina Ip defended the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) response to protests that started in Hong Kong in March 2019 over a proposed law that would allow for the extradition of fugitives to China.
“After months of chaos in the city, something had to be done, and the Chinese government did it,” Ip wrote in praise of Beijing’s passage of a security law that clamped down on protests.
Ip said that the law limiting protests would ensure “that Hong Kong does not become a danger to China.”
She also accused pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong of doing “great harm to the city” and “stirring up chaos and disaffection toward our motherland.”
Ip said that “the West tends to glorify these people as defenders of Hong Kong’s freedoms.”
The Times has previously described Ip as “Beijing’s enforcer” and as having close ties to top Communist party officials. Ip is a member of Hong Kong’s executive council and the founder of the New People’s Party, which promotes pro-Beijing policies.
The op-ed appears amid heightened concern from the U.S. government regarding Beijing’s propaganda efforts in the West. News outlets controlled by the CCP have used U.S. newspapers, including the Times, to publish advertorial inserts designed to look like legitimate news articles.
China Daily’s filings with the U.S. Justice Department show that it paid The Times $50,000 in 2018 to publish the inserts.
The Times quietly deleted the advertorials from online versions of its newspaper in August.
The publication of the piece comes after the Times experienced an internal uprising among staff members over the publication of an op-ed on June 3 from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton calling on President Trump to call on the U.S. military to “restore order” following riots in U.S. cities over the police-involved death of George Floyd.
Cotton said he supported peaceful protesting, but he argued that more needed to be done to quell the rioting, looting, and killing that had occurred.
The Times attached a lengthy editor’s note to Cotton’s article, which led to the resignation of opinion page editor James Bennet.
Ip’s op-ed does not disclose her close ties to the Chinese communist apparatus in Beijing, though The Times has previously reported on those links.
On July 17, 2003, the paper reported that Ip resigned as Hong Kong’s secretary of security due to protests over a security bill she supported. The article described Ip as “enjoying particularly close ties to top Communist officials.”
“Mrs. Ip was widely seen as Beijing’s enforcer, sending police and immigration officers to perform sometimes politically controversial raids,” The Times reported then.
According to The Times, the bill Ip supported would have allowed police to conduct warrantless searches during emergencies “and would have authorized the shuttering of news organizations deemed seditious.”
The Times also reported in 2003 that Ip “kept a sword from the People’s Liberation Army at the front of her desk.”
Ip has spoken out against expanding civil liberties and voting rights in Hong Kong, which was handed over to the control of China from the United Kingdom in 1997.
In 2002, Ip stirred controversy when she argued against expanding the vote, saying that “Adolf Hitler was returned by universal suffrage and he killed seven million Jews.”
The Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.