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HONG KONG CHINA

China publicly broaches Hong Kong crisis, repeats support for leader Lam

A Hong Kong police officer arrests a demonstrator near the Beijing Liaison office in HK on 28 July 2019.
A Hong Kong police officer arrests a demonstrator near the Beijing Liaison office in HK on 28 July 2019. Vivek Prakash / AFP

In a rare press conference on the ongoing pro-democracy protest movement, China's Hong Kong liaison authority has said its immediate priority is to "punish violent and unlawful acts" and to "restore order" in the Special Administrative Region, or SAR, in the south of the country.

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This past weekend dozens of protestors were arrested.

The street protests triggered by a new measure to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to China have continued since the start of June.

The demonstrations have been the biggest since the return of the former British Colony to China in 1997.

Last week the violence stepped up a notch as thugs from the local organised crime sector, known as triads, were accused of instigating unrest.

Spokesman Yang Guang from the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said that "no civilised society or rule of law society will tolerate rampant violence", adding that the protests, organised by a "few radicals" had "come into contact with the bottom line" of the one country, two systems principle on which Hong Kong was supposed to be run for 50 years from 2047.

Yang reiterated Beijing's strong support for Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and the city's police force, following accusations of the use excessive force against protesters.

Britain is beholden to oversee that China is respecting its side of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 which means ruling Hong Kong in accordance with The Basic Law.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, Am Cham today called on Hong Kong's leaders to address the grievances and restore stability. Hong Kong is an international financial hub whose stock market opened down at the start of the week.

The Chinese authorities have suspended the extradition issue that triggered the protests. However, the demonstrators have broadened their call to protect and further democracy in Hong Kong before its 50 year SAR status expires in 2047.

Li Peng's legacy

Meanwhile, attention in Beijing was focused on late former premier Li Peng, who was to be cremated on Monday after his death last week at the age of 90.

The Chinese flag was flown at half-mast at Tiananmen Square, other major sites in and around Beijing in his honour.

Li was considered to be behind the crackdown on protesters who occupied the square in Beijing in 1989, under the leadership of Deng Xiao Ping.

Chinese state media called him a "loyal communist soldier" who "took decisive measures to end the turmoil."

He was dubbed by human rights and pro-democracy activists as the "Butcher of Beijing" for his role in the military's brutal crackdown on historic pro-democracy demonstrations 30 years ago on 4 June.

Li held the premiership for 11 years until 1998. He was chairman of China's parliament until 2003.
 

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