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Chinese Communist Party condemns Hong Kong protests

Chinese Communist Party condemns Hong Kong protests

China’s Communist Party on Thursday condemned the street protests that have engulfed parts of Hong Kong and gave its firm endorsement to the city’s beleaguered leader. The People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, accused pro-democracy groups of threatening to drag Hong Kong into “chaos.”

This is after tens of thousands of protesters have occupied main roads in Hong Kong since Sunday, demanding an open democratic vote for the city’s leader, or chief executive, and many have also demanded the resignation of the current leader, Leung Chun-ying.

Quoting the Communist Party leadership, The People’s Daily said “no” to those demands and accused the protest organisers of pushing Hong Kong toward dangerous disorder.

“If matters are not dealt with according to the law, Hong Kong society will fall into chaos,” the paper said.

Hong Kong belongs to China and operates under a policy of “one country, two systems.” The city was a British colony until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty, and is governed by a mini-constitution called the Basic Law. The city maintains an independent judiciary and residents enjoy greater civil liberties than those on  the Chinese mainland. Hong Kong has a robust tradition of free speech.

Democratic groups accuse Beijing of chipping away at those freedoms, citing an election law proposed last month that would limit voting reforms.

China had promised free elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017 and rejected a call for open nominations, instead proposing that candidates would continue to be chosen by a committee dominated by Beijing.

Democracy groups and parties in Hong Kong have demanded election rules that allow an “unfiltered vote,” and they have called Beijing’s proposal a fraudulent voting exercise.

After current city leader, Leung Chun-ying, clashed with the pro-democracy opposition on Sunday, some have now called for his resignation.

The People’s Daily accused Occupy Central With Love and Peace, which is leading the pro-democracy campaigning in Hong Kong, of “blaspheming” the rule of law in the city.

“The actions of ‘Occupy Central’ have flagrantly violated the laws and regulations of Hong Kong, severely obstructed traffic and disrupted social order,” the paper said.

“This has placed the political demands of a minority above the law, and has harmed the social stability and economic prosperity of Hong Kong for the sake of selfishly hijacking public opinion in Hong Kong.”

The paper said the Communist Party’s central leadership firmly backed Leung, the chief executive of Hong Kong, widely loathed by many democrats who accuse him of serving as a tool of Beijing.

“The central government has full confidence in the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and is extremely satisfied with his work,” it said, adding that the Beijing government would “continue unswervingly supporting him” in running the city and would “resolutely support the police force of the special administrative territory in dealing with illegal activities according to the law.”

Photo caption: NOT BACKING DOWN... China’s Communist Party on Thursday condemned the street protests that have engulfed parts of Hong Kong and gave its firm endorsement to the city’s beleaguered leader. Image: qz.com