SCIO briefing on the current situation in Hong Kong

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Yang Guang, spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Xu Luying, spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council


Xi Yanchun, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office


September 3, 2019

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to all of you attending this press conference. Recently, the SCIO has held several press conferences to brief you about the situation in Hong Kong. Today, we have invited Mr. Yang Guang and Ms. Xu Luying, the spokespersons of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, once again to update you on the latest situation. They will also answer some of your questions.

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Yang Guang.

Yang Guang:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. Today, Ms. Xu Luying and myself come here once again to update you on the latest situation in Hong Kong and share with you our views.

Currently, some positive changes are taking place in Hong Kong. Among them, the most important is that "stopping violence, ending the chaos and restoring order" has become a broad consensus with the strongest appeal for all walks of life in Hong Kong. Through methods like issuing written public statements, advertising and making public speeches, representatives of all social ranks and social circles, as well as non-governmental organizations and institutions have denounced the violent crimes that have been committed, and expressed support for the police's strict law enforcement activities. On Aug. 17, despite heavy rain, nearly 500,000 people took part in a rally with the theme of "oppose violence, save Hong Kong". It was a touching scene. The government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the police force together have resolutely cracked down on illegal and criminal activities according to law. By Sept. 2, a total of 1,117 people had been arrested, including three members of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR on suspicion of committing a public order crime. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and related departments of the HKSAR have actively communicated with all social sectors to better understand the appeals being made and the anticipation of residents. In a timely manner, they have formulated measures to address the difficulties facing residents and enterprises. One thing to note in particular is that overseas Chinese are of the same mind with Hong Kong people and the people in the rest of China. In many places around the world, overseas Chinese and Chinese students studying abroad have spontaneously organized demonstrations and assemblies, using methods like displaying the national flag and singing the national anthem, to express their deep love for the homeland and strong indignation towards activities advocating "Hong Kong independence" and violent activities. It has been very touching and inspiring.

However, it must also be noted that the situation in Hong Kong remains complex and grave. Violent, law-breaking activities are not completely under control. At some moments, in some places, rioters have gone even further than before. They took insane actions and committed dreadful crimes. Taking the police as their main target, they used sharpened metal pipes, gasoline bombs, steel-wire trap and other lethal weapon to attack police officers, besieged police dormitories, maliciously and illegally spread the personal information of individual police officers and their families online, frantically threatening harm and even killings targeted at police officers, and tried all they could to instigate hatred towards the local police force. On Aug. 30, three rioters ambushed an off-duty police officer, attacking him with a knife, and causing severe injuries. Their brutality was horrific. Rioters also assaulted, insulted, and illegally detained innocent passengers at the airport. They did all they could to obstruct police officers and medical workers from protecting and treating injured passengers. They also threatened to die together with others. They used all kinds of extreme approaches, such as creating bank runs, creating financial turmoil, blocking traffic on major roads, and vandalizing public facilities, to put pressure on the HKSAR government. They shouted slogans advocating "Hong Kong independence" in many places, and even asked foreign governments to interfere. On Aug. 31, after police rejection, they launched illegal demonstrations and assemblies in many places, particularly in busy commercial areas. They threw around 100 gasoline bombs targeting police officers and government buildings. They also tried to attack the headquarters of the resident organ of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, the HKSAR Legislative Council and the HKSAR government. They also threw tear-gas grenades into the barracks of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. They vandalized facilities in 32 MTR stations, which is one third of the total MTR stations. On Sept. 1, some rioters entered and destroyed the control rooms in Tung Chung and other stations, posing a grave threat to the safe operation of the MTR system. They also blocked roads leading to the airport, meaning the MTR service on the airport express line and several other routes being unable to operate for over six hours, affecting a large number of passengers. What's worse, they tried to infect children and extend their influence into campuses. They encouraged students to boycott classes, using them as a tool to realize their political aims. All these facts show that some rioters' activities have gone far beyond the scope of normal demonstration and rally. In any country or region, under any legal system, their deeds will be taken as violent crimes, and they will be treated as a mob.

Yang Guang:

More and more Hong Kong residents have now clearly realized that the situation in Hong Kong, initially from fallout over revision of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, has gone completely awry. A small number of rioters, in committing unlawful and criminal acts, have shown to the world that they have a purpose and a target that have nothing to do with the ordinance dispute. They willingly work as the cat's-paw of external forces and forces that are anti-Chinese and seek to bring chaos to Hong Kong. They have carried out reckless violent and unlawful activities. They seek to create chaos in Hong Kong, paralyze the HKSAR government, and seize control of the region before turning it into an independent or semi-independent political entity exercising complete autonomy that runs counter to central government authority, distorting the longstanding principles of a high-degree of autonomy and "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong". Their final purpose is to render "one country, two systems" something that exists in name only.

It has now come to the crucial juncture of safeguarding the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle and maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. All those who truly care about and love Hong Kong should remain clear-minded, show their firm stance and clearly understand that there is no middle ground and there should be no hesitation, indecision or wavering on the cardinal issue of ending violence and chaos, on which Hong Kong's future hinges. If we truly love Hong Kong, we should firmly vindicate the principle of "one country, two systems". If we truly love Hong Kong, we should act to determinately say "no" to behavior damaging Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and challenging "one country, two systems" principle. Here, we make three propositions:

Yang Guang:

First, we hope the HKSAR government and people from all sectors of society will be able to further build consensus and act to "stop violence, end the chaos and restore order". Untrammeled violence and infringed rule of law is the biggest danger facing Hong Kong. And people's strongest call is to "stop violence, end the chaos and restore order"; the people's strongest call is to fight against violence, safeguard the rule of law, and maintain stability. What Hong Kong needs most now is an end to chaos and violence, thus restoring order to Hong Kong, which is also the foremost, overarching and most pressing task for Hong Kong. It is the duty of all Hong Kong citizens to protect their homeland from destruction. We hope every citizen who loves Hong Kong can consciously reject violence, support Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her efforts to lead the HKSAR government and the police to crack down on violent crimes in accordance with the law, and support the HKSAR procuratorate and judicial bodies in performing their duties, thus bringing all radical rioters to justice, fully showing the authority of the law. We should show no mercy to those key members who sparked violence as well as backstage masterminds, organizers, and agitators. All institutions with public power should act quickly and decisively. The struggle to uphold the rule of law is relentless.

Second, I hope people could distinguish the acts of peaceful demonstrations and assemblies to express people's demands from those violent crimes or behavior aiming to challenge the bottom line of the "one county, two systems" principle. Staging an assembly or demonstration is a right that the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has granted to residents. Most citizens participating in the demonstrations and assemblies, including young students, no matter what their reasons or demands are, as long as they act in a peaceful way in accordance with the law and the "one country, two systems" principle, enjoy this legal right. The peaceful demonstrations and assemblies are different in nature from those crimes of unscrupulously challenging the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle, attacking resident organs of the central government in Hong Kong, smearing and insulting the national emblem and flag of China, violently attacking the police and innocent citizens, severely damaging public and private property, and endangering public security. We must and will resolutely crack down upon these crimes in accordance with the law. There is no room for tolerance. In the face of crimes, law enforcement means justice, and protecting the law is righteousness. These resident organs of the central government in Hong Kong, including the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Office of the Commissioner of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR and the Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People's Liberation Army are representing China. Their security and dignity should not be challenged.

Third, I hope you will focus on the fundamental issues of Hong Kong's economic development and public well-being, and come up with ideas and jointly seek solutions. The current chaos have mirrored some deep-seated problems in Hong Kong which have come to a point where we must attach great importance and take effective measure to deal with them. The social problems that the ordinary citizens, young people in particular, have been complaining about, such as housing difficulties, the large gap between the rich and poor and the difficulty of upward mobility, have accumulated over a long period of time due to complex causes. We need to identify the crux of the problems and find effective solutions. Recently, some people showing breadth of vision in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland and abroad have put forward quite a few insightful views on this issue. We support Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her governance team to continue to exchange views with people from all walks of life and young people on relevant dialogue platforms to jointly explore solutions to these issues. This constructive dialogue is very much needed in Hong Kong. As long as people from all walks of life in Hong Kong think actively, pool their wisdom and build consensus with the attitude of being the masters of Hong Kong, they will definitely find the golden key to deal with the difficulties, and turn the anger being witnessed in Hong Kong into harmony.

The central government will continue to unswervingly implement the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, and will continue to spare no efforts to support Hong Kong in developing its economy and improving public well-being, and ensure that the outcome of development will benefit all the people in Hong Kong.

That's all. Thank you.

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