The US senator Rick Scott on October 11 shared a letter addressed to NonLethal Technologies Inc. which raised concerns about the exports of tear gas equipment and claimed that the sale of riot gear to Hong Kong was equivalent to supporting efforts of the Chinese president to harm ordinary citizens and peaceful protesters. The letter further urged the manufacturer of tear gas to put human rights above profits. Similarly, back in July Senator Ted Cruz had also tweeted that the US should consider banning exports of tear gas to Hong Kong if the attacks on the demonstrators were not stopped. In August, US Representative Chris Smith and James McGovern, Democrat also asked the Secretary of state to suspend future sales of crowd and riot control equipment to Hong Kong police.
Pennsylvania based NonLethal Technologies Inc is a privately held company, which makes and exports wide range of riot and crowd control equipment for military and law enforcement agencies. The company has been in a spotlight for employing tear gas canisters to the Hong Kong police which they used to disperse anti-government demonstrations. In 2017, the NonLethal company was reportedly listed as one of the top companies in the world producing riot-control systems. The company also provides “a full range of less-lethal grenades and less-lethal ammunition to allow the most effective level of force to be used for various situations”. Amnesty International has also reportedly called on countries to halt all transfer of less-lethal crowd control equipment to Hong Kong.
A US company is providing tear gas used against pro-democracy fighters in #HongKong.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 12, 2019
This week I requested a meeting with the leadership of NonLethal Technologies Inc. As a freedom-loving country we should be supporting freedom around the globe, not hindering it. https://t.co/Z3XaXdDdGP
The protest is seen as the worst crisis and it also poses a great challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012. The demonstrations which started in June 2019 due to an extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be transferred to the mainland has now been revoked. However, then started the protests have now modified into a larger version of an anti-government movement. The protesters demand less Chinese influence on Hong Kong which was initially promised a high level of autonomy when they came under the 'one country, two systems' in 1997. These often violent protests have damaged Hong Kong tourism along with the businesses in the global financial hub which has caused additional loss to the economy. Meanwhile, the city has been battling the effects of the greatest trade war between China and the United States. US President, Donald Trump has also asked China to deliver a “humane solution” to the unrest in Hong Kong.
(With inputs from agencies)