Beijing says protesters pose more danger to Hong Kong than coronavirus

The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office has released a new statement (in Chinese) on protesters in Hong Kong that is worth noting. An excerpt from the statement reads (translated by SupChina):

We believe that the serious state of Hong Kong’s economy is caused by multiple factors…

However, the biggest scourge comes from within, and that is the violent black force that openly calls for and carries out destruction. This force is the most poisonous, the most destructive, and the most disastrous…

It must be solemnly pointed out that black violence and destruction are political viruses in Hong Kong society and the major enemy of “one country, two systems.” Hong Kong cannot have peace until the black violence is removed.

The statement “came after Hong Kong’s economy posted its worst-ever quarterly decline of 8.9 percent, pushing the territory deeper into recession,” AFP notes. However, Hong Kong, like almost all of mainland China, is set to ease its social distancing measures soon — on May 8, “beauty salons, game centers, gyms, cinemas, mahjong parlors and public entertainment venues will be allowed to resume business,” the Hong Kong Free Press reports.

Last month, the Hong Kong Liaison Office, one of three official representatives of Beijing in the territory, asserted unprecedented authority to influence the city’s independent legislature. That move, along with the mass arrest of pro-democracy figures on the same weekend, was the clearest signal yet that Beijing is growing impatient with Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Beijing makes little distinction between pro-democracy activists and “black-clad thugs” who cause violence. Last month, state media began saying that “so­-called ‘pan­-democrats’ and their acolytes in Hong Kong” are causing a “rising risk of home­grown terrorism.” See also on SupChina: Is Hong Kong’s autonomy dead or terminally ill?

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