The Hong Kong protesters demanding democracy in the former British colony are a ‘political virus’ according to China’s office in the region.
In a statement on Wednesday, the office made it clear that the central government in Beijing won’t sit idly and watch the black-clad protestors take control of the place.
It also made it clear that stability in the region is impossible until the pro-democracy protesters are removed.
The statement comes at a time when the city is under lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some Hong Kong protesters feel the government could use the lockdown solely to keep them off the streets.
History of Protests
The Hong Kong protests were a major flashpoint for the Chinese government last year.
The protests first started against the introduction of an extradition bill which could extradite Hong Kong prisoners to the Chinese mainland. Unlike other provinces in China, Hong Kong has a separate governance system from the Chinese mainland. Protesters saw the extradition bill as an overreach of the Chinese government into Hong Kong’s affairs.
The withdrawal of the bill didn’t put an end to the protests. The Hong Kong protests morphed into a fight for democracy in the region. These protests turned violent at times as well. Protests are called off for now as Hong Kong is under lockdown following the coronavirus pandemic.
Significance of Statement Against Hong Kong Protesters
The significance and timing of the statement from China’s Hong Kong office are worth noting. There is growing fear on both sides that things could turn ugly if the city is reopened.
While the Chinese authorities deny allegations of attempts to limit Hong Kong’s freedoms, protesters fear the opposite. The lack of faith between the central government and Hong Kong protesters could make reopening the city safely a significant challenge. Due to the protests and the pandemic later, Hong Kong’s economy has shrunk at a rate not seen at least since 1974.
(Image Source – Taiwan News)