Beijing has expressed its “resolute support” for the Hong Kong government and police force as mass protests over the shelved extradition bill continue to rock the city.
At a press conference today, Yang Guang and Xu Luying – spokespeople for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council, Beijing’s top office on the city’s affairs – praised the police and their families for doing their best in a difficult situation. Yang said they “have done their best to protect society and stability, and made a great degree of sacrifice”. He did not reply to a question about the central government’s stance on an independent inquiry into police actions.
When asked if the Hong Kong garrison of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will be deployed on the streets, Yang said the Garrison Law and the Basic Law have clear statements on that question.
He blamed the public’s unfamiliarity with the mainland’s legal system and some media for spreading malicious rumours about the extradition bill. He added that the central government understands and supports the decision made by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to suspend the bill.
Yang also commented on foreign interference, saying: “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s internal affairs are those of China. Interference is not allowed.”
Yang said the central government has three hopes for Hong Kong and three bottoms lines for the “one country, two systems” principle.
The three hopes for Hong Kong are: various sectors firmly oppose violence; various sectors firmly safeguard the rule of law; and society can get out of political conflicts as soon as possible. The three bottom lines are: no harm to national security; no challenge to the central government’s authority and the Basic Law; and not using Hong Kong as a base to undermine China.
The two officials condemned acts by “radical protesters”. “The rule of law is what Hongkongers are proud of. Violence is violence; unlawful acts are unlawful,” Yang said, adding that the most important task for Hong Kong is to restore law and order and punish violence and illegal acts.