Xi urges an end to violence in Hong Kong
By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/15 1:33:21 Last Updated: 2019/11/15 11:47:49
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday night urged an end to violence and chaos in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), which he said is the most pressing task for the city, in his latest remarks that have been seen as a strong support for tougher actions against violent criminals.
In comments made at a meeting of major emerging markets in Brazil, Xi also stated China's determination to protect its national sovereignty and security, and opposition to external influence in Hong Kong affairs, in what analysts call a clear bid to gain understanding from the international community and warn radical elements in Hong Kong and their foreign backers.
The continuous radical violent activities in Hong Kong seriously trample 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, Xi said during the BRICS summit in Brazil, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Xi stressed that it remains the most pressing task for Hong Kong to bring violence and chaos to an end and restore order.
"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 Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law," Xi said.
This is the second time the president has spoken about the Hong Kong situation in the last 10 days. Xi met with HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam in Shanghai on November 4, when he expressed "high degree of trust" in Lam and her governance team and "demanded unswerving efforts" to stop and punish violence activities.
In an apparent shift in wording over the evaluation of the HKSAR situation, Xi said in his remarks in Brazil that stopping violence and the chaos is the "most pressing task" instead of "the most important task," which he used during his meeting with Lam.
That could be seen as a "clear request" for the HKSAR government to end the five month-long unrest in the city, Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, solicitor of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Since the beginning of the week, violence and vandalism have continued to escalate in the HKSAR, as radicals have gone out of control, beating and setting fire on people with different opinions, trashing streets, public facilities and business, attacking police officers and torching universities.
The president also stressed support to the Hong Kong police, saying the central government will "firmly support" them to strictly enforce the law.
The president's support for the Hong Kong police also offered a much-needed morale boost to police officers and their families who have been under tremendous pressure from both endless work hours and unfounded criticism, according to people close to the circle.
"Personally, I have been very much touched. I feel that the country will extend a helping hand when it's necessary," the wife of a senior Hong Kong police officer, who preferred to be called May, told the Global Times on Thursday.
May said she shared the president's comment to a group of officers and families, and some police officers said that "they believe in the [central government]."
Xi's message also injected confidence in the broader Hong Kong society, according to Angus Ng Hok Ming, executive president of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Youth Association.
Some concerns and worries in Hong Kong society have been responded to now, especially to those people shaken by speculations and rumors against the HKSAR government or the "one country, two systems" principle, Ng said. "Some anti-government forces and separatists will also reconsider their behavior or even restrain their radical activities since this sounds like a final warning."
Warning to radicals
Xi said the Chinese government has unswerving determination to protect national sovereignty, security and development interests, implement the "one country, two systems" principle and oppose any external force who interferes in Hong Kong's affairs, Xinhua reported.
Such comments, which were made by the Chinese president at a multilateral meeting, were clearly aimed at the international community to gain understanding from those countries and warn foreign forces who have been hyping tensions in Hong Kong, said Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies, from Nankai University in Tianjin.
"Whatever political plots foreign forces have or whether they want to sow chaos in Hong Kong are doomed to fail," Li told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that the central government will be firm in attitude and pragmatic in measures to handle the Hong Kong situation.
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.
In another clear evidence of the US' blatant interference in Hong Kong affairs, US Senator Mitch McConnell has brought up a legislation that gives Washington free rein in punishing those who it deems to have "violated human rights" in Hong Kong to the senate floor for a vote, which is the last step before US President Trump could sign it into law, some media reports said on Thursday.
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