BEIJING – The Chinese government reaffirmed on Monday its strong support for Hong Kong's embattled leaders and police after two months of rolling protests that have led to violence and resistance to Chinese rule. Defense of local authorities during a rare press conference in Beijing through the government office overseeing the Hong Kong policy.
It came days after a People's Liberation Army spokesman hinted that military force could be used to persecute anti-government demonstrations against the government since June in Hong Kong. The demonstrations have repeatedly turned into violent melee when smaller groups of confrontational protesters have been confronted with police officers who used tear gas and clubs against them, including last weekend.
In his introductory remarks at the press conference, Mr. Yang expressed his support for city guide Carrie Lam and the police, who have come under criticism for what demonstrators say is excessive use of force against protesters.
Mr. Yang also said that the local government should work to solve economic problems, including employment and school challenges, a housing shortage and rising living costs.
The news session appeared to be aimed at quelling the wave of opposition in Hong Kong – most of them a continuing challenge to China's rule over the territory since 1997, when Britain returned it to Chinese sovereignty.
The protests were in conflict with a bill that would pave the way for deliveries from Hong Kong to mainland China. Many Hong Kong residents distrust the mainland Chinese police and police, controlled by the Communist Party, and the opposition has been widespread.
After major demonstrations in early June, Ms. Lam, the Beijing-supported chief executive officer of Hong Kong, indefinitely suspended the legislative proposal. But protesters went out into the streets of Hong Kong every week, especially on weekends, demanding the full withdrawal of legislation and a wider range of complaints.
Mrs. Lam refused to make any further concessions, and her advisors have suggested that the government is confident that despite escalating unrest and signs that the economy may be suffering further protests.
By emphasizing their support for Ms. Lam, the central officials also stressed their responsibility in respecting the law and seemed to convey another message: It is up to Ms. Lam, her administration, and the police to end the months of conflict. The worsening trade war between the United States and China has cut Hong Kong's stock by more than 5 percent since early April. Hong Kong shares fell more than 1 percent on Monday afternoon, with real estate companies hardest hit.
China had promised to give Hong Kong far-reaching autonomy after 1997, including independent courts and far greater freedoms than on mainland China. However, many Hong Kong residents report that their city's status has been severely undermined, especially under Xi Jinping, leader of the Chinese Communist Party since 2012.
Protesters are increasingly angry at the lack of democratic government, a ruling class, Beijing has been more guilty than Hong Kong, and according to demonstrators and some experts are overly persistent methods of police suppressing the crowd.
However, the Chinese government and its supporters in Hong Kong have done so, focusing on the demonstrators, especially those who have attacked government buildings and thrown bricks and steel bars at police phalanxes. The rage from Beijing grew after protesters devastated the outside world of the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong, including applying colors to the national emblem.
The cycle of protests and violent police reactions continued over the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd of protesters who had come out to denounce a mob attack on protesters, and what they're saying is a non-accountable police force.
On Monday, the Chinese government defended the city police. "We understand the tremendous pressure that the Hong Kong police and their families are subjected to and welcome the Hong Kong police, who fearlessly held on to their posts and performed their duties in spite of adversity," Yang said.
Chinese According to official media reports, behind the protests are more shameful "hostile Western forces" than heartfelt anger among the people of Hong Kong. And they have also defended the Hong Kong police and even urged them to take more vigorous action.
"Hong Kong police can no longer be gentle nannies if they enforce the law," an editorial in the People's Daily's overseas edition, the Communist Party's most important newspaper, said Monday.