Though China is demanding the U.S. stay out of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the demonstrators who've stormed one of the world's busiest airports this week resemble those who dumped tea into Boston Harbor more than two centuries ago, according to retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding.
The way China has tried to discredit the Hong Kong protesters is similar to the way King George III of England criticized the Colonial protesters in December 1773, Spalding claimed Tuesday on "Fox News @ Night."
"A little more than 240 years ago, those kids would've been our Founding Fathers, actually, fighting for our freedom," Spalding, a former official at the National Security Council, said. "Rather than the Hong Kong airport, it was Boston Harbor where they were tossing tea in."
In 1997, the United Kingdom transferred sovereignty of Hong Kong to China, under which the island has been a semi-autonomous special administrative region.
Protests have taken place in the Hong Kong region for more than two months now, as tens of thousands demand that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam step down and that the government pull legislation that would allow it to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. The fear is that on the mainland, those suspects would face unfair trials and torture.
The demonstrations, in turn, have raised concerns among U.S. officials about how far China might go to clamp down.
“The United States, and all the freedom-loving nations around the world, must stand ready to swiftly move to defend freedom if China escalates the conflict in Hong Kong,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said in a statement.
On "Fox News @ Night," Spalding added he believed it is important that Trump and the United States stand up for the demonstrators.
"There's a failed belief that if we stand up to totalitarians, it'll make it worse for the protesters," he said.
"The Chinese Communist Party is going to do what they want to do. They believe we are fomenting revolution because of who we are."
He predicted Asia and Europe will not make any meaningful moves in regard to the protests, and that the U.S. should be the one to act if necessary.
"One of the things we talked about in the National Security strategy is America needed to get back to talking about our principles -- not just open markets lead to wealth, but open markets and democratic principles lead to a better world."
Fox News' Paulina Dedaj and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.