China to oppose external forces interfering in HK affairs: Xi

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/15 1:03:40

Residents wave China's national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) at the peak of Lion Rock in Hong Kong, south China, Sept. 14, 2019. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the most pressing task for Hong Kong is to end violence and chaos and restore order, after the city was engulfed again by four days of violence which paralyzed public traffic, vandalized infrastructures and frightened ordinary people and lead universities to suspend classes.

Xi made this clear stance of the Chinese government on Hong Kong's situation at the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia, capital of Brazil on Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

Xi said the continuous radical violent activities in Hong Kong seriously trample the rule of law and the social order, seriously disturb Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and seriously challenge the "one country, two systems" bottom line.

He reiterated that it remains the most pressing task for Hong Kong to bring violence and chaos to an end and restore order.

Xi made the remarks 10 days after he met with Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam, who is in Shanghai for the second China International Import Expo (CIIE). But in his latest remarks, Xi used "the most pressing task" instead of "the most important task" to describe the urgency to end violence and bring order in Hong Kong.

Xi's mention of "the most pressing task" also raises a clear request for the Hong Kong government, and a heavy blow to the five month-long unrest in the city, Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, told the Global Times.

"We will continue to firmly support the chief executive in leading the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to govern in accordance with the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and firmly support the Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law," Xi said.

Xi said the Chinese government has unswerving determination to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests, implement "one country, two systems" policy and oppose any external force in interfering in Hong Kong's affairs.

Xi's comments were clearly aimed at the international community to gain understanding from other countries and warn foreign forces who have been hyping tensions in Hong Kong, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at Nankai University in Tianjin.

To state China's position on the Hong Kong situation at the BRICS summit could also win the understanding and support of major countries that Hong Kong affairs are China's core concerns related to China's sovereignty, Li noted.

"Whatever political plots foreign forces have or whether they want to sow chaos in Hong Kong, they will ultimately fall apart," Li told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that the central government will be firm in attitude and pragmatic in measures in handling the Hong Kong situation.

Xi mentioned judiciary for the first time, once again emphasizing that ending violence and disorder is the responsibility of the whole governance system, including the judiciary, Tang Fei, a member of the Council of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times. 

He reaffirmed strong support for the "one country, two systems" principle, conveying a solemn commitment to Hong Kong and the world that the central government will unswervingly adhere to the principle, and that the central government is confident in solving the current crisis. 

The Hong Kong government announced on Thursday it has assigned officers from the correctional services department to anti-riot duties to enhance the police force's strength. The government said it would not preclude the appointment of officers from other local discipline services to alleviate the burden on the police. 

Since the meeting on Wednesday night, many Hong Kong media are speculating that the government may impose a curfew to bring the current situation under control. This measure has some support in Hong Kong as many people believe it would help contain the violence. 

However, there are different voices. Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, opposes a curfew, saying it would be a heavy blow to Hong Kong's status as a financial center. 

The government has since dismissed rumors a curfew may be implemented over the weekend.

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a member of the Hong Kong government's Executive Council, told the Global Times on Thursday that as violence continues to escalate, the government could consider other options, including hiring "mercenaries" to strengthen the police force, and come up with other more effective measures more quickly. 

"For example, appointing special constables should have been done three months ago," she said. The police force needs 5,000 additional officers considering the current chaos, Ip said. 

A person appointed as a special constable has the same duties, powers and protection as a police officer.

Black-clad rioters set fire on a street in Sai Wan Ho in Hong Kong on Monday. Photo: Xinhua

Citywide rampage 

Meanwhile, black-clad rioters' occupation of Hong Kong universities continued on Thursday with radicals seen building fortifications made of bricks, making Molotov cocktails and searching every visitor's belongings at school entrances.

Parents, teachers and educators called on the government to immediately take effective measures to end the campus riots. 

The Global Times reporter found on Thursday that black-clad rioters at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) had placed bottles of flammable materials all over the campus, used bricks and rocks to build strongholds to fight police, used handrails and trash to block several gates and even occupied the campus cafeteria to cook their food. It's believed hundreds of students fled CUHK on Wednesday. 

The Hong Kong Education Bureau on Thursday announced that classes in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools will remain suspended until Sunday out of security concerns. 

"The central government should urge the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to end the chaos as soon as possible. It also shows the public that the central government is keeping an eye on the situation. On the other hand, patriotic forces in Hong Kong hope they can do something to help ease the situation, but they don't know what to do. Perhaps the central government can unite these people and offer some guidance," Wong Kam-leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, told the Global Times.

Many experts agree, however, that it's still not yet time to introduce national security related laws in Hong Kong or dispatch Chinese People's Liberation Army or Armed Police Forces to the city, although it's possible and would be legal under the Basic Law.

Newspaper headline: HK must restore order: Xi


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