Occupy Central

'Doomed' protests will not change Beijing's decision on political reform, warns Chinese state paper

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 12:41pm
UPDATED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 1:25pm

Chinese state media went after Occupy Central with both barrels after a night of chaos that saw police in riot gear fire tear gas at pro-democracy protesters.

Global Times – well known for its belligerent pro-government editorials on Hong Kong democracy, US and Japanese foreign policy, and China’s smog problemspublished an editorial this morning castigating activists for “jeopardising the global image of Hong Kong, and presenting the world with the turbulent face of the city.”

“As Chinese mainlanders, we feel sorrow over the chaos in Hong Kong on Sunday,” the editorial said. “Radical opposition forces in Hong Kong should be blamed.”

Responding to comparisons on social media and in the international and local press between the protests and the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, the paper claimed commentators were attempting “to mislead and stir up Hong Kong society.”

“The radical activists are doomed. Opposition groups know well it’s impossible to alter the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Hong Kong’s political reform plan.”

The editorial, republished by the Chinese government’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, ends on a determined note: “It must be made clear that there is no uncertainty over political reform in Hong Kong.”

Criticism of the protests was not limited to English-language state media. In a hastily deleted article on the Global Times' Chinese language website, it was suggested that the People’s Armed Police, the nation's paramilitary force, could assist Hong Kong police in putting down the protests. “Support from the armed forces could quickly restore stability” in the city, the article said.

Other state media has largely ignored the protests, a propaganda department directive issued yesterday and leaked to China Digital Times ordered websites to "clear away information about Hong Kong students violently assaulting the government and about “Occupy Central.” Promptly report any issues. Strictly manage interactive channels, and resolutely delete harmful information."

Global Times has a long history of publishing strident criticism of the Hong Kong democracy movement. In June, the paper even alienated Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying after it published an editorial attacking an unofficial poll organised by Occupy Central – in which more than 700,000 Hongkongers called for public nomination for the 2017 chief executive election – as “no match” for the 1.3 billion population of China.

Leung said it was wrong for anyone to put “the people of Hong Kong and China on confronting sides.”