China ambassador to UK issues warning over protest movement

China ambassador to UK points warning over protest motion

HONG KONG (AP) – China’s ambassador to the U.Ok. mentioned Thursday the Beijing authorities is not going to “sit on its hands” if the scenario in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate after greater than two months of near-daily avenue protests.

Liu Xiaoming mentioned extremists masquerading as pro-democracy activists are dragging Hong Kong “down a dangerous road.”

He instructed a information convention in London that if unrest turns into “uncontrollable . the central government would not sit on its hands and watch.”

“We have enough solutions and enough power within the limit of the Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” he mentioned, referring to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution adopted after the previous British colony was handed over to China in 1997. “We hope this will end in an orderly way. In the meantime we are fully prepared for the worst.”

Protests that started in early June have paralyzed components of the territory, together with its worldwide airport, & led to lots of of arrests.

Liu wouldn’t go into element about what measures Beijing would possibly take, or when the scenario may be judged to be uncontrolled. Beijing has not dominated out sending in troops, though most observers take into account that unlikely.

He additionally instructed different international locations to cease meddling.

“We cannot accept any interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs,” he mentioned.

China has offered few concrete examples of alleged overseas meddling.

Flights have largely resumed after being halted by mass demonstrations & spasms of violence on the airport on Monday ( 💡 Visit our shop –Ed.) & Tuesday. Police made 5 arrests Tuesday evening & 17 extra on Wednesday throughout clashes exterior police stations within the Sham Shui Po district.

Protesters displayed laser pointers & burned spirit paper in recognition of the lunar calendar’s conventional Hungry Ghost Pageant, however police spokesman Tse Chun-chung mentioned some additionally used catapults to fireplace metallic balls & marbles at police. Officers responded vith tear fuel & “minimal use of force,” he mentioned.

Police had been additionally sustaining airport checkpoints & limiting entry to the services to these vith journey paperwork, Tse mentioned at a each day information briefing. Whereas acknowledging some complaints about the usage of tear fuel & different aggressive police techniques in residential areas, Tse mentioned police by no means want to take such measures, & accomplish that solely when “appropriate.”

“We hope everybody will join us in restoring and order in society,” Tse mentioned.

This week’s clashes highlighted the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters & the authorities, which present no signal of abating so long as the federal government continues to refuse requires dialogue. Alongside vith scrapping the extradition laws, below which prison suspects may very well be tried in mainland China, & critics say, face torture & an unfair justice, protesters are demanding an investigation into alleged police abuses & different steps, vith some calling additionally for the resignation of Chief Government Carrie Lam.

That’s additionally having an impact on what’s already a troublesome financial scenario for the monetary companies & export hub, vith the forecast for financial development for the 12 months downgraded from 1% to 0%, metropolis Monetary Secretary Paul Chan introduced Thursday.

“Domestically, the recent social incidents have hit the retail trade, restaurants and tourism, adding a further blow to an already weak economy, and also affected the international image of Hong Kong,” Chan mentioned.

A complete of 29 international locations have issued journey security alerts for Hong Kong, whereas worldwide credit standing businesses have additionally expressed concern in regards to the scenario within the territory, he mentioned.

“The incentives of tourists traveling to Hong Kong and of businessmen abroad operating business and investing in Hong Kong have been affected,” Chan mentioned.

Whereas the motion’s supporters plan avenue protests for the weekend, it’s unclear what their subsequent transfer is.

Greater than 700 protesters have been arrested since protests started within the territory of seven.5 million in early June. Police & the federal government have pledged to convey all “culprits” to justice & to take “relentless enforcement action to bring the persons involved to justice.”

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific mentioned it had canceled 272 flights, affecting greater than 55,000 passengers, & had fired two pilots in an obvious response to their involvement in exercise associated to the pro-democracy protests. They included one pilot who’s “currently involved in legal proceedings.” The airline mentioned earlier this week certainly one of its pilots has been charged vith rioting after being arrested throughout a protest.

It mentioned the second fired pilot “misused company information,” however gave no different particulars. The Hong Kong Free Press reported the pilot posted a photograph of a cockpit display on a web-based discussion board utilized by protesters.

The protests & airport disruptions are being fed largely by frustrations amongst several Hong Kong residents over what they see as an rising erosion of the freedoms they had been promised in 1997 when Communist Celebration-ruled mainland China took over the previous British colony below the framework of “one country, two systems.”

China started by censoring all information of the protests, however has in current days taken to denigrating the protesters as criminals being manipulated by the U.S., Taiwan & different unnamed overseas powers.

Nevertheless, whereas human rights teams, overseas governments & several members of the U.S. Congress have expressed concern over the occasions in Hong Kong, President Donald Trump has taken an nearly cavalier angle, calling the protests “riots” & saying they had been solely a Chinese language affair.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he knew Chinese language chief Xi Jinping “very well.”

“He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a ‘tough business,’” Trump tweeted. “I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?”

In a presumably hopeful signal for the opposition, a frontrunner of an earlier protest motion imprisoned on public dysfunction expenses was launched on bail Thursday.

Benny Tai was sentenced to 16 months in April as certainly one of 9 leaders placed on trial for his or her half in a 2014 drive for common suffrage often called the Umbrella Motion. He was allowed to return dwelling on $12,755 bail however was barred from leaving Hong Kong & could have his enchantment heard in late February, based on the court docket.

The 2014 motion fizzled, its calls for ignored by Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed administration & its leaders arrested. Nevertheless, it laid the groundwork for the brand new protest motion that started in June vith mass opposition to extradition laws however has since encompassed extra sweeping democratic calls for.


Related Press author Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

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