Xi Jinping again backs Hong Kong police use of force in stopping unrest

Laura Zhou

Chinese President Xi Jinping has underlined Beijing’s support for Hong Kong police to use force to quell the unrest in the city and called on the judiciary to punish violent lawbreakers.

While attending the BRICS summit in Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia, Xi said that putting an end to the violence and restoring order remained Hong Kong’s most urgent priority.

“We continue to firmly support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region led by the chief executive to execute its functions in accordance with the law,” the state news agency Xinhua quoted him as saying. “We sternly support the Hong Kong police to take forceful actions in enforcing the law, and the Hong Kong judiciary to punish in accordance with the law those who have committed violent crimes.”

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He said the Chinese government was “firmly committed to safeguarding our interests in national sovereignty, security and development”.

“Our commitment to fully implement ‘one country, two systems’ has not changed, and we resolutely oppose any foreign forces seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong,” he said, referring to the principle under which the city has its own political, legal, economic and financial systems.

Xi said that the unrest in Hong Kong was unacceptable and jeopardised its prosperity and stability.

“The continued radical and violent crimes that have happened in Hong Kong have seriously trampled over [Hong Kong’s] rule of law and social order, severely undermined Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and amount to a blatant challenge to the bottom line of one country, two systems,” he said.

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The comments at the meeting of BRICS – the association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – were Xi’s first public remarks about the city at an international summit, although he did discuss the crisis earlier this month in Shanghai with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

On Tuesday, the central government liaison office in Hong Kong issued a statement warning that the city was “sliding into the abyss of terrorism” and that a harsher crackdown was needed to restore law and order.

The warnings by Xi and the liaison office come as the financial hub reels from some of the worst violence since massive anti-government protests started in June.

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