Hong Kong facing worst crisis since handover

Hongkongers however are determinated to continue with their protests until the demands are met

Photo: HKFP Hong Kong Protest at Sha Tin's New Town Plaza

Hong Kong is reportedly facing its worst crisis since it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997. The opinion was expressed by the head of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office on Wednesday, as more protests were set to rock the Asian financial hub.

“Hong Kong’s crisis ... has continued for 60 days, and is getting worse and worse,” Zhang Xiaoming, one of the most senior Chinese officials overseeing Hong Kong affairs, said during a meeting in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. “Violent activities are intensifying and the impact on society is spreading wider. It can be said that Hong Kong is now facing the most severe situation since its handover."

Hong Kong has been rocked by political unrest for nearly three months now. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets since early June, spurred by their opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to Mainland China. The proposal has been suspended - but not fully withdrawn - yet demonstrations continue and have shifted into a movement calling for autonomy, full democracy and the ousting of city's chief Executive Carrie Lam. Police have arrested more than 500 people aged between 13 and 63 in the protests so far and fired nearly 2,000 rounds of tear gas, thus an investigation into what protesters say is excessive use of force by police is also demanded. Police again fired tear gas in Sham Shui Po, one of the city’s poorest districts, late on Tuesday.

During her Monday address, Lam said the demonstrators have taken their protests beyond the extradition bill, and she added that the “extensive disruptions in the name of certain demands” have “seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order.”′

The city’s leaders pointed to disruptions to transportation - including those seen Monday during a general citywide strike - as evidence that the city was seeing a material impact from the protest. She declared that her government would take a tough approach:

“The government will be resolute in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong and restoring confidence,” she stressed.

The chief executive, however, dismissed as “untrue” rumors that China’s People’s Liberation Army had been deployed into the city’s streets to help control protesters. Those claims had arisen because of Beijing’s implications about intervention, and the PLA itself releasing a video last week saying it’s committed to safeguarding “Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”

Lam also indicated she intended to stay in her job - despite repeated calls for her to step down.

In China’s sharpest rebuke yet of the protesters, the government warned then on Tuesday that Hong Kong citizens are “playing with fire”.

Despite warnings however, protesters are planning to surround Hong Kong’s Revenue Tower today and continue with their demands.

Similar articles