China warns Hong Kong protesters central gov't has 'immense strength'
BEIJING, China – China warned Hong Kong protesters Tuesday, August 6, that they should not underestimate "the immense strength of the central government", in a strong rebuke to those involved with civil unrest in the Asian financial hub.
At a press briefing in Beijing, Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, also said "those who play with fire will perish by it".
The comments represent some of the strongest-worded warnings from China's central government yet over protests in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, which has been plunged into chaos by weeks of clashes.
Protests were triggered by opposition to a planned law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but then rapidly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reform and the protect of freedoms.
Yang said that the "radical protests... have severely impacted Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, pushing it into a dangerous abyss".
He also said the government still "firmly supports" both the Hong Kong police force – who have faced criticism in the city for their handling of the protests – and Carrie Lam, the city's pro-Beijing leader, who has faced calls to resign from protesters.
In a strong warning aimed at the "criminals" behind the unrest, Yang said: "Don't ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness... Don't ever underestimate the firm resolve and immense strength of the central government." – Rappler.com
Here are the latest developments in the Hong Kong protests:
- Masked Hong Kong protesters hold rare press conference
- Clashes, travel chaos in Hong Kong as leader warns city on brink
- Pro-democracy push causes transport chaos in Hong Kong
- Twin Hong Kong rallies as protesters defy China warnings
- OFW passing through Mongkok protest nabbed by HK police
- Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters in tourist district