Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the police have been under immense pressure from anti-extradition bill protesters, and have spent a great deal of effort in upholding the rule of law in the Special Administrative Region, according to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO).
South China Morning Post reported HKMAO spokesperson Yang Guang as saying in a press conference on Mon (29 Jul) that Beijing thus “supports the relevant departments and police to protect the rule of law”, adding that the “one country, two systems” concept should involve “no harm to national security, no challenge to the central government’s authority and the Basic Law, and no using Hong Kong as a base to undermine China”.
Yang also, on behalf of the Office, criticised “irresponsible remarks” made by individuals from “Western countries”, which Beijing believes have fanned anti-China sentiments among Hongkongers protesting the mainland’s perceived tightening grip on the city.
“They have weird logic: they expect empathy for violent and illegal actions, but when it comes to police work in maintaining law and order and stability in society, protesters believe officers should be held accountable and be condemned. This is ridiculous,” he said.
The press conference on Monday by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office under the State Council, the first by Beijing’s top policy office on Hong Kong since the handover, suggested top leaders had arrived at a view and formulated a response to the deadlock.
Civil Human Rights Front’s Jimmy Shum told CNN that the press conference was “disappointing”, and that the Office had missed the opportunity to employ its “power” to “dismiss” Lam or to urge her to resign.
“The press conference wasted Hong Kong people 40 minutes of their time,” he said.
Senior journalism lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University Bruce Lui told BBC News: “Beijing is repeating what it has said before. It condemns violence, supports Carrie Lam and Hong Kong police … But when asked about the deployment of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops, the spokesperson showed a rather distant attitude.”
While PLA troops are stationed in Hong Kong, they are rarely expected to intervene in the city’s issues unless the Hong Kong government requires its help to restore public order or to help carry out disaster relief.
Hong Kong govt and police must “take all necessary steps” to restore order; authorities have “strongest backing” from Beijing
China Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily in a commentary hours before the HKMAO press conference strongly urged the Hong Kong government and police to take “all necessary steps” to restore law and order in the city, SCMP reported.
“The SAR government and police should not forget that their strongest backing comes from the sacred missions bestowed on them by the Basic Law and the law of Hong Kong.
“Hence, the SAR government and the police must act now in accordance with the laws, and punish all those perpetrators of violence as prescribed by the law,” the commentary read.
The Daily added: “We cannot condone the lawbreakers just because they are holding up high the banner of ‘freedom and democracy’ or wearing the hat of ‘civil disobedience’.”
Earlier this month, the newspaper suggested that the protests in Hong Kong are an “undisguised challenge” to China’s method of governing the Special Administrative Region, which rests upon the “one country, two systems” model, Reuters reported.
“It is not surprising there are some disagreements and even major disputes about certain issues, but if we fall into the whirlpool of ‘overpoliticization’ and artificially create division and opposition, it will not only serve no purpose, but will also severely hinder economic and social development,” said The People’s Daily.
The daily added that Hong Kong “cannot bear turbulence and internal friction” in addition to the challenges posed against the city by a disruption in global markets as a result of rapid technological advancements and increased global competition.