Both Chinese and Iranian media took the opportunity to point out endemic racism and police brutality in the US as ties between the two countries and Washington deteriorate.
In Iran, which has in the recent past violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the US unrest.
Foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi urged the US government and police to stop the violence against their own people during a press conference in Tehran on Monday.
“To American officials and police! Stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” Mousavi said, playing on a key protest phrase "I can't breathe". He also sent a message to the American people that “the world is standing with you.” He added that Iran is saddened to see “the violence the US police have recently” set off.
Chinese state media has weighed in on the protests in the US, comparing them to last year’s violent anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that Beijing accuses the US and other foreign forces as encouraging.
In an editorial Sunday, the ruling Communist Party newspaper Global Times said Chinese experts had noted that US politicians might “think twice” before commenting again on issues in Hong Kong, knowing that “their words might backfire on them one day.”
That followed a commentary on state broadcaster CCTV Saturday that described the violence between police and protesters in the US as “cup of bitter wine distilled by the US politicians themselves.” Racism, the commentary said, is the “darkest shadow on American history and the scar that will not heal.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the protests in various American cities “once again reflect the racial discrimination in the US, the serious problems of police violent enforcement and the urgency of solving these problems.” China hopes the US will “safeguard and guarantee the legal rights of ethnic minorities,” Zhao said at a daily briefing on Monday
The protests are an opportunity for China to allege double-standards and counter-criticism from foreign governments and the Western media over its handling of the Hong Kong protests, its treatment of Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other human rights issues.