Predictable response to social unrest . . .
The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) held its first press conference since the 1997 handover to respond to the dramatically escalating civil unrest in the city. The office’s spokesperson, Yang Guang, largely stuck to the narrative presented earlier this month by the state-run Xinhua News Agency. He condemned what Beijing deems to be violent and radical protests, urged various sectors in Hong Kong to safeguard the rule of law, and emphasized the importance of economic development to Hong Kong’s stability. Yang reiterated Beijing’s resolute support for Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and her government.
From peaceful demonstrations to violent battles . . .
The HKMAO press conference followed two violent clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police over the weekend. On Saturday, a peaceful march protesting a mob attack one week ago turned violent as riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters. Another violent clash took place outside Beijing’s liaison office on Sunday night as thousands of anti-government protesters gathered near the office for a second consecutive weekend.
Conflict spills over to international campuses . . .
Growing tension between Hong Kong and Beijing has spilled over onto campuses around the world, including in Canada. Last week at Simon Fraser University’s campus in Burnaby, British Columbia, a message board hosting expressions of support for Hong Kong’s demonstrators – set up by pro-Hong Kong students – was torn down three nights in a row. Pro-Beijing and pro-Hong Kong students have fought recently at the University of Queensland in Australia. Many campuses are concerned with potential growing resentment between students from Hong Kong and those from mainland China as tensions continue to rise.
- Al Jazeera: Police, protesters clash in Hong Kong for second day
- The Globe and Mail: Hong Kong tensions reach B.C’s Simon Fraser University as notes, posters supporting protests partly torn down
- South China Morning Post: As it happened: how Beijing expressed ‘resolute support’ for Hong Kong’s government