China says violent actions during protests in Hong Kong an 'undisguised challenge'
China regarded the violent actions of some protesters in Hong Kong as an "undisguised challenge" to the one country, two systems formula under which the city is ruled, state television reported on Tuesday.
A representative of China's Hong Kong affairs office condemned the violence of some protesters who are angered by a proposed extradition bill and said Beijing supports the Hong Kong government to hold violent criminals responsible, the report said.
Hong Kong police fired tear gas early on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of defiant protesters, some of whom had stormed and ransacked the city's legislature hours earlier on the anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Meanwhile, a Chinese state paper has called for "zero tolerance" against protestors. "Out of blind arrogance and rage, protestors showed a complete disregard for law and order," the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily, said in an editorial.
"Chinese society is all too aware that a zero-tolerance policy is the only remedy for such destructive behavior witnessed. Otherwise, and without this policy, it would be similar to opening a Pandora's Box," it said.
A tense calm descended on the city after police dispersed hundreds of protesters. Debris including umbrellas, hard hats and water bottles were the few signs left of the mayhem that had engulfed parts of the Chinese-ruled city.
Police cleared roads near the heart of the financial centre, paving the way for business to return to normal following extraordinary violence on the anniversary of Hong Kong's 1997 return to Chinese rule.
However, the former British colony's government offices, where protesters smashed computers and spray-painted "anti-extradition" and slurs against the police and government on chamber walls, were closed on Tuesday
Chinese society is all too aware that a zero-tolerance policy is the only remedy for such destructive behavior witnessed. Otherwise, and without this policy, it would be similar to opening a Pandora's Box. The Global Times
Millions of people have taken to the streets in the past few weeks to protest against the now-suspended extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.
Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam suspended the bill on June 15, saying she had heard the people "loud and clear", but she stopped short of protesters' demands to scrap it.
Lam called a news conference at 4am (8pm Irish time) to condemn what were some of the most violent protests to rock the city in decades.
The Beijing-backed leader is now clinging to her job at a time of an unprecedented backlash against the government that poses the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
The extradition bill, which would have covered Hong Kong’s seven million residents as well as foreign and Chinese nationals, was seen by many as a threat to the much-cherished rule of law in the city that returned to mainland rule under a "one country, two systems" formula.