Central government hails Hong Kong police

By Chen Qingqing in Hong Kong and Yang Sheng in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/29 22:38:40 Last Updated: 2019/7/30 10:46:33

Restoring order, punishing violent criminals the priority

Yang Guang (center) and Xu Luying (right), spokespersons for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, attend a press conference in Beijing on Monday concerning the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

The central government on Monday saluted the Hong Kong Police Force and stressed that the priority at the moment is to punish the violent criminals and bring peace and stability back to Hong Kong society.

Yang Guang, a spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said Monday the central government has always paid close attention to developments of recent situation in Hong Kong. 

"Because some Hong Kong residents have short knowledge about the mainland legal system and law, they have concerns about the extradition bill," Yang said at a press conference on Monday.

But some individuals and media outlets with ulterior motive have spread rumors and alarm to create fear in the society and interrupt the Legislative Council of Hong Kong's work on the amendment bill, he said.

Xu Luying, another spokesperson of the office, also attended the press conference and answered questions. This is the first time the office spokespersons met with the press.

Firm support 

Hong Kong saw several massive rallies and protests against the bill, and in order to stabilize the society and unify public opinion, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government decided to postpone the bill on June 15, and the central government has expressed support, respect and understanding for the decision, Yang said.

Yang explained the central government's stance and points of view on violent incidents that seriously harm Hong Kong's rule of law, social order, economy, people's livelihood and international image.

People from different groups and circles in Hong Kong should clearly and firmly oppose the violence. The current situation has also seriously touched the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" and this should not be tolerated, Yang said.

The central government hopes people from different groups and circles in Hong Kong firmly safeguard the rule of law, he said. 

"The central government firmly supports Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in leading the HKSAR government's law-based governance, supports the Hong Kong police in their strict law enforcement, supports relevant departments of the SAR government and judicial organs in punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law, and supports the people who love both our country and Hong Kong in their defense of the rule of law in the region."

"We especially understand the pressure that the Hong Kong Police Force and the family of the police officers bear. Using this opportunity, we salute the outstanding Hong Kong police officers" who have always been fearless and professional, and who bear heavy pressure, Yang stressed.

The Hong Kong Police Force website said the police have arrested at least 49 people for unauthorized assembly and possession of offensive weapons at Sunday's illegal assembly.

The radical protesters were getting increasingly violent. They escalated from removing railings, hurling metal poles and bricks to arson and destruction. The police severely condemned such behavior, which has clearly deviated from expressing opinions in a peaceful manner.

Protesters face off with police (bottom) during a demonstration against an extradition bill in Hong Kong on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Yang said the central government hopes Hong Kong society gets rid of political struggles and focuses on economic development and improves people's livelihood.

The HKSAR government and the whole society should help the youth solve their difficulties in housing, education, employment, and start-up businesses, to release their resentments effectively, Yang said.

"The central government is willing to help the HKSAR government and people in different fields, to create a better environment for development for them [the youth]."

Shifting public opinion 

Radical protesters have been losing support from the public following recent clashes, which have gone far beyond the scope of peaceful marches and demonstrations. 

A majority of the protesters on Sunday stayed in the Chater Garden in Central, which was authorized by the police. But groups of extreme protesters usually hide their faces with masks, dressed in black and armed themselves with batons, umbrellas and hard hats. They marched in different directions, which have become illegal rallies that obstruct traffic. 

Those groups, however, do not represent the mainstream Hong Kong public as they have touched the bottom line of a society ruled by law and triggered violent acts that endangered safety. 

"Hong Kong is a diverse society. Expressing different opinions should be respected. Achieving justice by violating the law is in the interest of certain groups or individuals," Louis Chen, executive president of the Hong Kong KOL Project, told the Global Times.

Violence only tears society apart. Rioters, as well as "black hands" behind them, should be strongly condemned, he said.

A small number of secessionists are also not welcomed by the majority of peaceful protesters in recent demonstrations. Before the peaceful rally in Chater Garden, online organizers came up with warning posters for protesters, such as "no unlawful impersonation of the police," and "protect the integrity of one country, two systems." 

The extreme protesters are also different from the peaceful majority, as they moved up barricades in a highly coordinated way, and shielded themselves behind umbrellas when the police asked them to leave. They also ignored police warnings after an hour-long standoff and began throwing paint bombs and canisters at police during the dispersal operations.

Radical protesters also burned miscellaneous items inside trash cans on Sunday night, and hurled bricks and glass bottles, poured suspected corrosive liquids and fired metal marbles using slingshots, according to the police.

Hong Kong society should band together against the radical protesters who broke the law, and all the traitors and rioters will be rejected by Hong Kong people, Chen noted.

Some internet users even called these behaviors "terrorism."  

The Global Times reporter saw some tourists fearful of the clashes on Sunday, and kept asking how long it would take. Many stores in Sheung Wan and Central were closed. 

During the police operations, several rioters rushed out from an alley in nearby Des Voeux Road Central and threw glass bottles at some resting officers  , almost hurting a group of reporters nearby. 

'Foreign forces'

Yang also criticized foreign interference in Hong Kong at the Monday press conference. 

Some Western politicians want to show sympathy, tolerance and understanding to violent illegal activities, but criticize the law-enforcement of the police, said Yang. "This is truly ridiculous and hilarious."

Some Western politicians have frequently made irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong, and "what they want to do is just make trouble for China using Hong Kong…to contain China's development. This kind of scheme won't succeed."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also slammed foreign forces Monday after US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel issued a statement on Friday criticizing the Hong Kong police's handling of recent "peaceful" anti-extradition bill protests.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying asked on Monday how some people from the US dare call that a "peaceful protest" when everyone saw how the protesters smashed the Legislative Council, stormed the building of the liaison office and attacked police officers with deadly weapons. 

Some people from Europe and the US have tried to protect the radical protesters and turned a blind eye to their violence. But when it happens in Western countries, their police officers never hesitate to use force. They are truly practicing double standards, she said.
Newspaper headline: Central govt hails HK police


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