Hong Kong situation still 'grim and complex'
The situation in Hong Kong is taking a positive turn, but it remains “grim and complex,” Yang Guang, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said yesterday.
The small number of radical rioters have doubled down on their violent activities and committed outrageous crimes in a frenzy of insane rampage in some places, which have gone far beyond the category of normal demonstrations, Yang said at a press conference.
Ending violence and chaos and restoring order, which is the top priority of Hong Kong, has become the broadest consensus and the strongest call of people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, said Yang.
China has reached the crucial juncture of safeguarding the bottom line of “one Country, two Systems” principle and maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, he said.
The spokesman noted that a small group of rioters in Hong Kong intend to confront the central government, and jeopardize the “one country, two systems” principle.
“They aim to put Hong Kong into chaos, paralyze the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and then seize the administration power, thus turning Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity,” he said.
Noting the unrest in Hong Kong reflects some deep-rooted problems, which demand great attention and require effective measures to tackle, Yang added that the central government supports Carrie Lam and the HKSAR government to continue discussing solutions with people from all walks of life, including young people, through dialogue.
Yang urged people to distinguish between peaceful protests to express their demands and violent crimes and acts to challenge the bottom line of the “one country, two Systems” principle.
He also called on the society to focus on the fundamental issues of the city’s economic growth and people’s livelihood.
When asked questions related to student strikes, the spokesman stressed that the radical protesters want to use students as a tool to put pressure on the HKSAR and the central governments.
‘I can smell terrorism’
“The acts of violence by a few rioters have gone beyond the scope of a peaceful assembly. Their acts of violence constitute violent crimes in any countries and regions under any law system. The radical protesters are definitely rioters,” Yang said.
“They act as pawns of external forces and anti-China rabble-rousers so willingly, even at the cost of executing evil acts of violence and crimes. They are intent on gumming up Hong Kong and paralyzing its government, trying to exercise jurisdiction over the SAR, then turning Hong Kong into an independent or semi-independent political entity.
They have used lethal weapons, and 1,600 police officers have had their personal information leaked online, he said.
Nearly 100 petrol bombs have been used, and MTR control rooms have been damaged, he continues. “I can smell terrorism,” he said.
On the issue of universal suffrage, Yang said that the Hong Kong democratic system was developed after 1997, and the Basic Law states the chief executive and legislature can be elected by universal suffrage.
Since the handover, Beijing has been making progress on democracy in the city, Yang says. In 2007, China’s top legislative body even decided that the city’s leader and legislature would be elected through universal suffrage by 2017 at the earliest. On August 31, 2014, Beijing issued the “831” political reform framework. It was only because of the opposition camp that an electoral reform package tabled in accordance with that framework was voted down, he says.
‘China will not sit idly by’
Hong Kong’s status as a Chinese territory is not up for discussion and Beijing will not sit idly by if the situation there endangers national security, Xu Luying, spokeswoman of the central government’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, told reporters.
The central government is confident that Hong Kong’s government has the will and ability to end the violence as soon as possible.
“The central government will never allow the chaos in Hong Kong to continue indefinitely. If the situation in Hong Kong deteriorates further, becomes uncontrollable by the SAR government and the turmoil threatens the sovereignty and security of the country, the central government will not sit idly by,” Xu said.
Xu adds that according to Article 18 of the Basic Law, national laws can be used in Hong Kong when the city is in a state of emergency.
Some people suggested that the mobilization of the local garrison would spell the end of “one country, two systems,” but this is wrong, she says.
The People’s Liberation Army stationed in Hong Kong can be mobilized when things in the region go beyond the SAR government’s control, according to Article 14 of the Garrison Law.