[Photo/IC]

The central government’s top official in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region stressed on Thursday that the rule of law and social stability are “fundamental” for Hong Kong in the wake of a series of violent incidents over a now-suspended bill proposing an amendment to the region’s extradition bill.

Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, spoke at a ceremony to launch a preparatory committee for Hong Kong’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Wang said he was saddened by the violence, especially the break-in and vandalism at the city’s Legislative Council Complex by some radical protesters in an “extremely uncivilized” way that shocked the country and the world.

He said the rule of law and social stability are the “fundamental” and “biggest” interests for the Hong Kong community. “The rule of law is like air and water. It is unnoticeable in everyday life. People only realize its value when it is polluted or disappears,” Wang said.

“Are we seeking a united, stable, civilized Hong Kong with the rule of law, or a disputed, polarized and uncivilized Hong Kong with continuous violence?”

The answer not only has a bearing on Hong Kong’s current situation and future development, but also on the fundamental interests of Hong Kong residents, Wang said.

Citing President Xi Jinping’s speech delivered at the celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the HKSAR’s return to the motherland on July 1, 2017, Wang stressed that Hong Kong cannot afford to be torn apart by reckless moves or internal rifts as it faces challenges amid increasingly intense international competition.

Wang also said there are external forces “blatantly” interfering with Hong Kong affairs and also a small minority of Hong Kong residents who want to profit from the chaos by serving as pawns of external forces.

People should be alarmed by and firmly opposed to such conduct, Wang said.

Recently, a number of officials from the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union made public statements over the situation in the HKSAR.

Wang said the central government will continue to firmly implement the “one country, two systems” principle and support the chief executive and the city’s government in exercising effective, law-based governance.

Chen Zimo contributed to this story.