Beijing: Terming the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as “illegal”, China today warned that the agitation that has paralysed the city would end up creating havoc in the former British colony.
Democracy and the rule of law are interdependent, and a democracy without the rule of law will only bring havoc, a new commentary in the ruling Communist Party of China's (CPC) People's Daily said.
In recent days, protests have been staged in Hong Kong in the name of seeking “real universal suffrage,” causing traffic jams, fewer tourists, the stock market plunging and the suspension of schools and stores.
“All these chaotic scenes have caused worries and irritation among Hong Kong citizens,” excerpts of the commentary carried by state-run Xinhua news agency said. The former British colony which was integrated with China in 1997 is governed by Beijing under the ‘one country, two systems' principle.
The agitators opposed rules to vet the contestants for the 2017 elections for the Chief Executive. The week-long agitation in which thousands of students and youth took part was seen as a big setback for efforts to integrate it with the mainland.
While the Chinese government is virtually closed due to the week-long National Day holiday since October 1, official media attacked the agitators alleging that they damaged the interests of Hong Kong and the wide extent of losses the business-friendly financial hub suffered due to the protests.
The so-called “Occupy Central” protests are aiming to realise political intentions that violate Hong Kong's Basic Law through unlawful means, and however the organisers and instigators labelled such acts as “peaceful” or “non-violent,” they cannot change the illegal nature of the protests, the People's Daily commentary said.
“These acts will undoubtedly end up with the rule of law violated, severely disrupted social orders, huge economic losses and possible casualties,” says the opinion piece.
Police today said they have arrested 19 people, some of whom are believed to have organised crime ties, after mobs tried to drive pro-democracy protesters from the streets where they have held a week-long, largely peaceful demonstration. At least 12 people and six officers were injured during the clashes, police said.
Protest leaders called off planned talks with the government on political reforms after the battles broke out yesterday afternoon in Mong Kok area.