Hong Kong police yesterday warned of the potential for protesters to engage in violence “one step closer to terrorism” during this week’s National Day events, an assertion ridiculed by activists as propaganda meant to scare people from taking to the streets.
Hong Kong Police Public Relations Chief Superintendent Tse Chun-chung (謝振中) said police intelligence suggested hardline protesters were inciting others to commit “extreme acts,” such as killing police, posing as police officials to kill civilians and large-scale arson, including at gas stations, at today’s holiday.
“We are on the verge of extreme danger,” Tse told a news conference. “There are apparent signs that hard-core violence may escalate. Those acts are one step closer to terrorism.”
Hong Kong Legislator Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) called the police intelligence “a joke,” saying that the e warning echoed one made by a Chinese-government newspaper days earlier.
“This is Chinese propaganda at play,” she said. “What’s more worrying is that police have admitted to its officials masquerading as protesters. So who will be the arsonists? Who will be the murderers? The goal is to institute fear in society so that people will be scared to go out. This is a despicable tactic.”
Echoing that view was Bonnie Leung (梁穎敏), of the Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized several massive anti-government rallies in nearly four months.
The group’s request for a march to be held today through the city center was rejected by police.
An appeals board yesterday upheld the ban.
The group said that denying a peaceful avenue for protesters could accelerate violence, because people would turn up anyway, as they have done in past when rallies were banned.
“Hong Kong is losing its freedom of speech and assembly. Hong Kong is becoming more and more like a police state, like a tyranny like Beijing,” Leung said.
Apart from the march, other rallies are planned in multiple locations, with posters calling for Oct. 1 to be marked as “A Day of Grief.”
The government has tightened security near a convention center where a muted National Day reception is to be held indoors.
The public is barred from watching the flag-raising ceremony at a square outside the center in the morning and an annual firework display has been canceled.
Tse said violence escalated over the weekend, especially during a melee on Sunday in the business and shopping district that lasted late into the night.
He said protesters lobbed more than 100 Molotov cocktails, set large street blazes and attacked police.
In response, police fired water cannons and used 328 tear gas canisters and other projectiles to clear the crowd.
He said one officer had to fire a bullet in the air after protesters surrounded him.
Tse said that 157 people, aged 12 to 53, were detained over the weekend.
Local media reported more than two dozen people, including a foreign journalist, were injured.
In Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday vowed to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong.
Speaking at a reception the night before celebrations to mark China’s 70th anniversary, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said that the nation would “continue to fully and faithfully implement the principles of ‘one country, two systems’” and a “high degree of autonomy,” he said.
“We are confident that with the full backing of the motherland and the concerted efforts of our fellow Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau who love the motherland ... [Hong Kong] will prosper and progress alongside the mainland,” Xi said.
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
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The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration