China reiterates support for Hong Kong's embattled leader

Wednesday, 07 Aug, 2019

"I warn all those criminals: don't misjudge the situation or take restraint as a sign of weakness", he said.

Singling out "brazen, violent and criminal actors" and the "meddling hands behind the scenes" as the focus law enforcement efforts, Yang said, "As for their punishment, it's only a matter of time".

"We strongly condemn the police for the series of violent acts and urge them and the government not to be enemies against the public", the activist said, adding it was the police's duty to serve and protect civilians.

China's Great Firewall has largely limited reports on the Hong Kong protests to those in line with government views.

When the Hong Kong police earlier denied protesters permission to march in one of the city's suburban neighbourhoods on safety grounds, the demonstrators made a decision to say that they weren't going for a march - they were just showing up for a game of Pokemon Go, said the report. But some Hong Kong residents feel that Beijing has been increasingly encroaching on those rights.

The strikes are the latest development in a summer of fiery demonstrations against proposed extradition legislation that would have allowed some suspects to be sent to mainland China for trials. While the government has since suspended the bill, protesters have pressed on with broader calls for democratic reforms, an investigation into the police brutality allegations and for the city's leader to step down.

When asked if the army would intervene if violence continues to escalate, Yang only said, "Don't underestimate the firm resolve and tremendous power of the central government". Representatives of the protest movement have not held any news conferences since the demonstrations began two months ago.

Along with the trade war with Washington, the predicament of how to manage Hong Kong, Sun said, will likely be top of the agenda at the Communist Party leadership's secret annual meetings at the Beidaihe resort this month. "We will go home and sleep".

A general strike on Monday brought life in the bustling Asian hub to a standstill.

Violent activities such as breaking the windows of a police station in Hong Kong's New Territories and using makeshift means to launch objects at the administration was also reported on Sunday morning.

Protests later took place in several districts, with police firing tear gas at demonstrators who rallied into the night, setting fires and besieging police stations. At Tuesday's press conference police revealed that they fired some 800 tear gas rounds on Monday - nearly as many as the 1,000 rounds they said they had fired throughout the whole of the last two months.

Many protesters have chosen to hide their identities because they fear official retribution.

More than 160 flights at Hong Kong's airport, one of the world's busiest, were listed as canceled yesterday afternoon. Those being held, who range in age from 14 to 76, face charges including rioting, unlawful assembly, possessing offensive weapons, and assaulting officers and obstructing police operations, spokeswoman Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan told reporters.

For Xi, an attempt to forcefully suppress the unrest with the Chinese military would end Hong Kong's status as an global financial hub and deal a serious blow to his ambition of bringing Taiwan, the self-ruled island that split from mainland China in 1949, under Communist Party control.