Beijing will announce “something new” on Hong Kong on Tuesday, when its top office on the city’s affairs holds a press conference for a second consecutive week in the capital.
It comes after the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council – China’s cabinet – last week broke its silence on the social unrest gripping the city since June, when it gave its first media briefing on the city since its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
On Monday, Hong Kong media were invited to another briefing, hours after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor issued a stern warning over escalating social unrest in the city.
A source familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the office would make a “new announcement” but refused to elaborate further.
Another official with knowledge of the situation told the South China Morning Post that Beijing’s position on Hong Kong remained largely unchanged.
“Hong Kong will not have the same strategic value to China if the chaos continues,” he said. “But [as to when this will end it] is not up to the central government.”
The office also expressed support for the city’s beleaguered police force in the most unwavering terms, and said it would continue to back the chief executive.
While it condemned an attack on the central government’s liaison office and the use of violence by “a small number of radicals”, the HKMAO made a distinction between them and peaceful demonstrators.
But violence escalated in Hong Kong over the weekend, and on Sunday, masked protesters in the city’s busy tourist district Tsim Sha Tsui threw the Chinese national flag into Victoria Harbour – an act that again triggered uproar on the mainland.