Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement

Beijing Condemns Protester Violence While Praising Hong Kong Police and Government

2019/07/29 ,


Daphne K. Lee

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images

Daphne K. Lee

Daphne K. Lee is a New York-based journalist covering food and culture. She’s a former editor at The News Lens International.

What you need to know

Beijing strongly condemns protester violence in Hong Kong and stresses the priority to restore peace in the city.

For the first time since the 1997 handover, Beijing authorities held a press conference to discuss the central government's stance on the recent anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong.

As violence escalated in the past weeks, Hong Kong's police have faced an international backlash against their excessive use of force during peaceful protests.

Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Spokesperson Yang Guang (楊光) spoke to the press at 3 p.m. today, addressing the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Throughout the conference, he reiterated that the central government will not tolerate any form of violence that would disrupt Hong Kong's peace and prosperity. The government's current priority is to restore the city's order, he repeated.

"The central government strongly supports Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) and the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law and punishing the criminals," Yang said and praised the police for their work.

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images

He stressed that Hongkongers should have a better understanding of what "one country, two systems" means. Yang said that Beijing maintains three absolute, untouchable bottom lines: no harmful behavior against national security and sovereignty, no challenge to the central government's authority and the Hong Kong Basic Law, no using Hong Kong as a base to infiltrate and destruct China.

When asked under what circumstances would the government deploy the People's Liberation Army, Yang said the Basic Law has clear statements regarding such policy and that he had no further comments.

According to Article 14 and 18 of the Basic Law, Chinese military forces would not interfere in Hong Kong affairs unless the Hong Kong government requests special assistance in maintaining societal order or disaster relief.

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG Images
Violent clashes between Hong Kong protesters and police on July 28, 2019.

On July 9, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the controversial extradition bill "dead" but did not withdraw it completely. Despite public demands of Lam's resignation, Yang expressed Beijing's support for her "tolerant and open" leadership style.

Towards the end of the conference, Yang condemned politicians in Western countries for making remarks in an attempt to destabilize Hong Kong and therefore turn it into a "trouble" for China.

"Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are within China's internal affairs. Any foreign interference is not tolerated," Yang said.

Yang left immediately with another spokesperson at the end of the 40-minute press conference. Reporters rushed to the podium while shouting questions about police brutality but received no response.

TNL Editor: Daniel Kao (@thenewslensintl)

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Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Movement:

At the end of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, Hongkongers promised they will be back. In June 2019, Hong Kong mobilized one-third of the population to protest against the government's extradition bill. The News Lens is covering the ongoing movement and rallies in collaboration with our Hong Kong-based team.

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