Authorities condemn violence, takeover of LegCo

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/2 0:58:39

Around 5,000 residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region gather at Victoria Park on Monday to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the city's return to the motherland. They wave their hats and shout "I love Hong Kong and Hong Kong fighting." Photo: China News Service

 Thousands of residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Monday celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the city's return to China with a flag-raising ceremony and lion dance performances.

At 8 am, the flag of the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong SAR regional flag were raised at the Golden Bauhinia Square accompanied by the national anthem. 

Two SAR government helicopters hoisted the national flag and the regional flag over Victoria Harbor. A fire truck sprayed water on the harbor.

Hung Kam-in, a member of the Kwun Tong District Council in Hong Kong, attended six different celebration activities held in the district on Monday. 

"The celebrations featured local residents singing patriotic songs, dancing and even playing games and quizzes on the 22nd anniversary of the city's return," Hung told the Global Times. 

"Hong Kong residents could feel the positive energy of the Hong Kong and our country from the events, which may also help residents have a correct understanding of the special administrative region especially amid the recent incidents," Hung said. 

Some 5,000 Hong Kong residents gathered at Victoria Park, shouting "I Love Hong Kong and Hong Kong fighting!"

SAR government and central government officials attended the ceremony, including Tung Chee-hwa, former Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive and vice chairman of the national committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and Wang Zhimin, director of the liaison office of the central government in the HKSAR. Affected by the weather, the guests observed the ceremony inside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lam said that since Hong Kong returned to the motherland 22 years ago, Hong Kong has experienced some changes and ups and downs in political, economic and social areas. "Yet, Hong Kong has, generally speaking, remained stable and prosperous,"  she said.

Unfortunately, violence also emerged. Some protesters clashed with residents who gathered to celebrate the anniversary and had also tried to interrupt the flag raising ceremony. 

On Monday night, the protesters smashed windows and stormed in, occupying and vandalizing the LegCo chamber. The protesters had been spraying slogans on the walls, damaging official portraits and symbols and attacking surveillance cameras, local radio RTHK reported.

Hong Kong police said they were ready to move in to clear the area around the LegCo chamber. They severely condemned the violent attack and  also appealed to unrelated protesters to leave the vicinity.

Tian Feilong, an expert on Hong Kong and an associate professor at Beihang University, said "the constant violence the protesters have stirred proves that a majority of them wanted to disturb Hong Kong. All the reasons such as human rights or the extradition bill are their excuses and their true purpose was to create trouble and further harm Hong Kong's stability." 

Tian said the regional government and police, and the central government should enforce the law firmly and quickly put down the riot. Otherwise, the continuing turmoil will seriously jeopardize Hong Kong.   

Demanding stability  

Police officers are seen holding up a red flag in Hong Kong, China on July 1, 2019. (Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto/AFP)


Hung criticized the violence. He said that most demonstrators peacefully expressed their demands, but a small group of the radical forces, wearing masks, paralyzed traffic and stormed the Legislative Council Complex. They should be punished according to law. 

Hung attended the Sunday afternoon rally in support of local police, as he said that violence in the demonstration in Hong Kong in recent years has affected its economy and development.

"They [the violent protesters] were crazy! The HKSAR government has suspended the extradition bill but they spread rumors that the regional government will resume discussions on it to incite residents. Their extreme behavior also harmed peaceful appellants," Nixie Lam, a Tsuen Wan district councilor, told the Global Times, noting that protest is about appealing, not demonstrating which is more violent. 

"The anti-establishment legislators of Hong Kong have opened Pandora's Box. They are now inciting the youth to win votes, which has harmed regional peace and stability," Nixie Lam said.

On Sunday, around 165,000 Hong Kong residents gathered at Tamar Park to show their support to the police for enforcing the law, protecting the security and stability of Hong Kong from the harm of violent protests earlier this month, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Observers noted the rally was proof that violent and unlawful protests earlier in June had angered many Hong Kong citizens who are the silent and mature forces of the city, and now they wanted to help safeguard stability and order to create a foundation for Hong Kong to develop.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday slammed interference in Hong Kong affairs by foreign forces. 

Spokesperson Geng Shuang said the UK no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong after it returned Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, and the UK needs to stop "gesticulating" about the city.

Geng made the remarks after the UK said the Sino-British Joint Declaration remains in force and is a legally valid treaty which it is committed to upholding, a point repeated by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Sunday.

On Monday, many people from the Chinese mainland also expressed their support for Hong Kong and recalled the glorious moment when China resumed its rule over Hong Kong in 1997  on social media platforms. 

Articles written by some observers on Hong Kong were circulated on WeChat. These articles analyzed the reasons why Hong Kong is beset by the protests and why Hong Kong economy is unable to provide enough opportunities to the youth, which shows that the mainland people are concerned about Hong Kong's development.

Many netizens expressed their hope that Hong Kong will have a brighter future and the mainland and Hong Kong can be more united and stand closer in the future. 

Busiest fundraising market 

Under "One Country", Hong Kong has benefited from the country's reform and opening-up and has enjoyed greater room for growth and development in social, economic and livelihood areas, Lam said. 

On "Two Systems," after its return to the motherland, Hong Kong remains internationally recognized as one of the freest economies in the world, with the basic rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people fully protected by the Basic Law, she said. 

Tian said that the city cannot solve the problem and create enough opportunities by only using its own resources, which means the economic integration with the mainland is crucial, and that's why the central government attaches great important to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area strategy. 

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is an enormous market with a population of 70 million and a gross domestic product of $1.5 trillion.

Analysts stressed that as an important juncture along the route of the Belt and Road and a central city in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong will embrace more opportunities. They noted as the reform and opening-up is being pushed forward, there will be greater room for Hong Kong to capitalize on its unique advantages. 

Xinhua reported that with a nearly 70-billion-Hong Kong dollar (about $9 billion) fundraising in the first half of the year, Hong Kong remained Asia's busiest fundraising market.

A total of 84 companies went IPO on the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) in the first half of the year, raising 69.8 billion Hong Kong dollars, up 35.2 percent from a year ago, according to HKEX data released Friday.

Cao Siqi and Zhang Hui contributed to this story

Newspaper headline: Hong Kong eyes stability

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