- Screenshot/People’s Daily
- Beijing strongly condemned the protests in Hong Kong on Monday, accusing “radical Hong Kong protesters” of engaging in “deranged” acts of violence.
- Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said protesters attacked and injured police officers in clashes over the weekend and called for swift punishment “without leniency, without mercy.”
- The condemnation came as Chinese state media released video footage of China’s People’s Armed Police moving into Shenzhen, possibly for drills.
- Chinese media specifically explained that the mission of the armed police is to counter “rebellions, riots, serious violent and illegal incidents, terrorist attacks and other social security incidents.”
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Beijing condemned “radical Hong Kong protesters” and their “deranged” acts of violence on Monday as Chinese media released footage of armed police and armored vehicles assembling nearby.
Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, accused protesters of attacking police officers and engaging in other violent activities, which he described as “terrorism” in a press briefing Monday, the China Daily reports.
“Radical Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Yang reportedly called for protesters who engaged in “deranged and severe criminal activities committed without regard for the consequences” to be punished “without leniency, without mercy.”
Over the weekend, police and protesters clashed again in the streets of Hong Kong. As police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into demonstrators, some protesters threw bricks and other weapons, which authorities said included Molotov cocktails and smoke bombs, at the police.
It is unclear to what extent protesters have engaged in violence. There are, however, numerous images of local law enforcement using force against demonstrators.
Protests first began in March in response to a bill that would have permitted extradition to mainland China, but the situation has escalated into something more serious. As protesters call for democracy and increased autonomy from the mainland, Beijing has toughened its stance.
Yang warned Monday that “Hong Kong has reached a critical juncture,” stressing that those who care about the future of Hong Kong should demand an end to the violence and a restoration of law and order.
As Yang urged authorities to “resolutely” crack down on protesters, Chinese state media released video footage of armed police in armored vehicles gathering in nearby Shenzhen.
The People’s Armed Police have been assembling in Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong, in advance of apparent large-scale exercises, videos obtained by the Global Times have shown. https://t.co/3KgaXeHw3C pic.twitter.com/YXAORMay0W
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) August 12, 2019
The People’s Daily, citing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the People’s Armed Police, specifically explained that the missions of the People’s Armed Police, a force not under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security but under the control of the Central Military Commission, “include participating in dealing with rebellions, riots, serious violent and illegal incidents, terrorist attacks and other social security incidents.”
The latest mobilization follows an exercise last week involving 12,000 police officers, as well as armored vehicles, helicopters, and amphibious vehicles.
Beijing has yet to indicate that it plans to directly intervene in Hong Kong.
Speaking to the press Monday, Yang stressed that the local police in Hong Kong are the “backbone” and are key to maintaining order. Nonetheless, the tough rhetoric coupled with the videos released by state media do appear intended as a warning.