Hong Kong residents participate in a rally at Victoria Park in the Special Administrative Region on Saturday to show their support for the city’s police and wishes for a return to peace and order. CHINA DAILY

Central authorities call it second such insult, urge restoration of order in HK

The central government lambasted radical protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday for blatantly trampling on the national dignity and the principle of “one country, two systems”.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council made the remarks in response to an illegal assembly on Saturday in which some radical protesters removed the national flag from a flagpole near Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier and tossed it into the harbor.

Their act constitutes a violation of the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance in Hong Kong, and a blatant affront to the national dignity and the principle of “one country, two systems”, the spokesperson said.

It also hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, including the people of Hong Kong, the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said it was the second time the nation’s dignity was trampled by radical protesters who besieged the liaison office building and defaced the national emblem on July 21.

Such lawlessness must not be allowed and offenders must be brought to justice in accordance with the law, the spokesperson said, reiterating the central government’s support for the SAR government and police to strictly enforce the law to punish lawbreakers and restore order.

Strong criticism poured in from various sectors of Hong Kong after a weekend of violence rocked the city, paralyzing traffic and disrupting business in many areas.

Protesters push steel barricades to block the street outside the Po Lam subway station in Hong Kong on Sunday. CHINA DAILY

The SAR government, in a statement issued at around 6 pm on Sunday, said Hong Kong will descend to a dangerous tipping point if such blatant lawlessness and violence, which is beyond freedom of expression, were condoned.

Hong Kong saw two very different crowds on Saturday afternoon. On was made up of 90,000 people who assembled peacefully in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.

Observers called the peaceful, positive rally, the third of its type since mid-June, the silent majority’s answer to the radicalism and violence mounted by protesters who have repeatedly thrown the city into chaos. Two earlier rallies saw about 480,000 people voicing their shared aspirations of restoring peace and harmony to the city.

The damp lawns of Victoria Park were packed with participants. At one point in the public rally, youngsters took the stage to remove their masks to reveal their identities in stark contrast to masked radicals.

Emma Chan Ming-kwan took her 13-year-old son to the rally in hopes of teaching him “to tell right from wrong”.

“Biased school education and media reports have failed to warn youngsters about the consequences of violence,” she said.

A 46-year-old Hong Kong resident of Italian origin who gave his name as Renato said he attended to support Hong Kong police and the SAR government because he doesn’t agree with the behavior of unlawful protesters.

At about the same time in the Kowloon Peninsula, one of the city’s busiest business districts was almost completely paralyzed as thousands of protesters against a now-suspended extradition amendment bill ignored police warnings and blocked major roads, occupying a critical cross-harbor tunnel twice.

The area, comprising Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok, is home to many luxury hotels, brand boutiques and posh restaurants that are major attractions for locals and tourists.

On Sunday, radicals spread the violence and vandalism to Tseung Kwan O in East New Territories and the western and central part of Hong Kong Island. In Causeway Bay, two police vehicles were set upon by masked protesters who attempted to blind officers with flashlights and laser pens. Some protesters vandalized Golden Bauhinia Square, where the flag-raising ceremony is held every day, in Wan Chai.

A total of 29 people were arrested on offenses including unlawful assembly and assault, according to the latest figure given by police.

“Violent protesters who breached the law should also be brought to justice,” a government spokesperson said.

CHINA DAILY