No room for compromise with Hong Kong protesters, People’s Daily says

Jun Mai

Hong Kong’s future is at a crisis point and there is “no room” for compromise in the “struggle” with anti-government protesters, said a hard-hitting commentary published on the front page of People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, on Monday.

“What we are faced with today is a struggle between safeguarding ‘one country, two systems’ and destroying it,” the commentary said.

“On this issue that involves national sovereignty, and the future of Hong Kong, there is no middle ground and absolutely no room for compromise.”

The commentary said Beijing would not hesitate to crush any attempts to challenge national sovereignty, security and unity.

“Any attempts to challenge these ‘three bottom lines’, and interfere and sabotage ‘one country, two systems’ are just delusional, and futile and doomed to fail,” it said.

However, the commentary said Beijing remained committed to abiding by one country, two systems – the principle under which Hong Kong retained a degree of autonomy after its 1997 handover from Britain to China – in spite of the chaos and violence in Hong Kong.

“Facts have proven that one country, two systems is the best option in resolving the legacy problems of Hong Kong, and the best system that can enable Hong Kong to maintain long-term prosperity and stability after its reunification with the country,” it said.

“[One country, two systems] is feasible, executable and welcome by the people.”

The article was first published online shortly before midnight on Sunday, after a day of fierce battles between masked radicals and police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. It carried the byline of the newspaper’s official commentator.

It began by emphasising Hong Kong’s significance in China’s national development strategy, adding that the city’s prosperity was an “important part of the Chinese dream”, a signature slogan introduced by President Xi Jinping to summarise his visions of making China a major world power.

It quoted recent remarks by Xi on the city’s crisis when he attended the BRICS summit in Brazil last Thursday.

Violent crimes have seriously challenged the bottom line of one country, two systems, Xi was quoted as saying. The president returned to Beijing on Sunday, state media reported.

The People’s Daily article was the latest tirade from the party’s propaganda machinery and signalled heightened warnings by Beijing on Hong Kong, following Xi’s stern messages in Brazil about the city’s worst political crisis since the 1997 handover.

The newspaper published another article online early on Sunday saying that the city’s crisis had turned into a battle of “life and death” and that there was no more room to cede.

“In the end, this is a struggle of subversion and anti-subversion,” the article said. “It is about choosing between safeguarding Hong Kong and watching it sink.”

Is Beijing ready to step in to stop Hong Kong protests?

The article called on Hong Kong people to counter the anti-government protesters.

A third article published on the front page of People’s Daily on Sunday stressed that there was no room for hesitation or fence-sitting and that the city must act immediately to stop the violence.

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