'Illegal' Hong Kong protests can cause havoc, warns China

Terming the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as "illegal", China on Saturday warned that the agitation that has paralysed the city would end up creating havoc in the former British colony.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 04, 2014, 15:22 PM IST

Beijing: Terming the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as "illegal", China on Saturday 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.The protests attempt to force the central authorities to change the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Hong Kong's electoral system.

The decision made on August 31 granted universal suffrage in the selection of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's (HKSAR) chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee.

Noting that one essence of the rule of law is absolute abidance by the law and the punishments of violators, the article said nobody is able to disregard the law or take exception to it asking young students to obey the law.

It also says that the measures of Hong Kong police to cope with the protests are necessary to ensure the rule of law, and they only used teargas when left without choices against protesters who bumped police defences and even poked police with umbrellas.

"Hong Kong police are very professional, and the actions they took were necessary, appropriate and moderate. There are no reasons to criticise their law enforcement acts," it says.

"A democratic society should respect the opinions of the minorities, but it doesn't mean those minorities have the right to resort to illegal means. Democracy can only be prosperous and the rule of law developed when we express opinions and seek consensus under the framework of law," the article says, urging protesters to see reason and the rule of law as the common responsibilities of all Hong Kong residents who truly love the city.