The state-run newspaper Global Times has warned its readers that Hong Kong faces becoming the next Ukraine or Thailand if it embraces a period of “political upheaval”.
The nationalist newspaper was responding to a sit-in demonstration in Central on Wednesday morning, ahead of an expected large-scale occupation in the near future.
In an editorial on Thursday, the newspaper condemned the hundreds of participants in the overnight sit-in on Chater Road, saying they posed a threat to Hong Kong’s rule of law.
"Without the rule of law, Hong Kong could sink into the likes of Ukraine or Thailand and all kinds of dangerous phenomena could happen," it said.
“The radical opposition organisers had admitted that their action would be unlawful. But they still went ahead,” the state mouthpiece said, apparently making reference to non-violent civil disobedience, a protest tactic that is more than a century old.
“After [their arrest], some of the troublemakers even unreasonably pointed their fingers at the police for ‘using force’,” it continued, without offering further details.
Protesters including a district councillor accused the police of using excessive force, and police have admitted twisting demonstrators’ wrists, elbows and necks in order to incapacitate them.
The sit-in came after as many as 510,000 took to the streets to demand genuine democracy and express their anger at Beijing’s declaration of its authority over Hong Kong in a white paper.
The editorial said the sit-in was a rehearsal for the Occupy Central protest, and warned that Hong Kong might embrace a time of political upheaval.
If that happened, it said, it would be crucial for the Hong Kong government to maintain the city’s “strength and efficiency in its law”.
“Without the rule of law, Hong Kong could sink into the likes of Ukraine or Thailand and all kinds of dangerous phenomena could happen,” it said.
Occupy plans to blockade Central streets if the government fails to deliver a plan for the 2017 chief executive election that guarantees a genuine choice between candidates for voters.
The overseas edition of another state-run newspaper, People’s Daily, also denounced two Hong Kong student groups’ who organised the Chater Road sit-in.
It said the groups were using illegal means to pressure the Hong Kong government into accepting the idea of public nomination.
Public nomination – allowing registered voters to nominate candidates for an election – does “not fulfil the Basic Law requirements”, the state mouthpiece said.