“Strong” support for the Hong Kong government, led by Carrie Lam and teh police force to “enforce the law” and criticism of the violence of protesters who offend “the rule of law”, which is the “treasure” of Hong Kong according to the spokesman of the Chinese Office for Hong Kong and Macao, Yang Guang. Together with his colleague Xu Luying, he held a press conference in the Chinese capital today, addressing the tensions that have shaken the territory for two months. It is the first public press conference of the Office since the return of Hong Kong to China (1997).
Carrie Lam’s hasty attempt to pass a law on extraditing criminal suspects to China has generated strong opposition in Hong Kong society. Entrepreneurs, lawyers, human rights activists, young people, students found themselves demonstrating with marches of up to two million people demanding the cancellation of the law. At the end of the demonstrations there were almost always clashes between police and protesters: the first using sticks, tear gas, rubber bullets; the others using stones, trolleys, invading Hong Kong’s parliament building and smearing the Chinese symbol placed on the State Office for Hong Kong and Macao.
In recent weeks, while protesters and democrats are demanding the abolition of the law (which the government has said is now “buried”) and an independent investigation into police violence, many wondered what China would do and several feared that Beijing would deploy the Chinese army garrison stationed in Hong Kong.
When asked about a possible military intervention, Yang Guang responded quickly, referring to the Basic Law. According to the Hong Kong mini-constitution, the Chinese army can intervene to safeguard the order only at the invitation of the government of the territory, and in cases related to natural emergencies.
Yang said that China defends the “one country, two systems” principle, on which the Hong Kong lifestyle is based, different from that of the continent, but stated that there are three boundaries not to be exceeded: “no damage to national security, no challenge to the central government authority and to the Basic Law, and not to use Hong Kong as a base to damage China ”.
He also warned of “irresponsible statements” by “people from Western countries” who, defending protesters’ claims, risk sustaining “violent and illegal actions”.
The condemnation of violence and support for the government and the police, repeated many times during the press conference, show that China wants to find a solution within Hong Kong to these tensions.
It is worth highlighting a concern addressed by Xu Luying about local youth. In recent weeks, several of them have expressed despair at the lack of democracy, job prospects and affordable housing. “There are many deep-rooted problems, such as young people’s mobility and housing problems. It’s very complicated, and multilayered “.