China’s most senior official in Hong Kong said the central government is prepared for the worst in the ongoing democracy protest, am730 reported Tuesday.
Zhang Xiaoming, head of Beijing’s liaison office, told the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) that the protest movement is a “battle” but stopped short of saying what would constitute a worst-case scenario, the report said, citing unnamed people at the meeting.
In an hour-long speech over the weekend, Zhang accused foreign parties of involvement in the crisis.
An unnamed source said the Hong Kong government’s worst-case scenario would be a prolonged protest lasting until the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit which Beijing will host in early November.
The government is holding back from forcibly clearing the protest sites so as not to embarrass China in the run-up to the summit, the source was quoted as saying.
In the meantime, the police will continue to dismantle barricades with minimum force.
However, Chinese authorities will not allow any attempts to occupy the Central Government Offices or the Chief Executive Office and will treat any such move as an attack on Zhongnanhai, the de facto seat of power in Beijing, the report said.
If that happens, the central government will support the use of force by the Hong Kong police and more stringent measures such as deploying the Chinese paramilitary police.
Some DAB members said a worst-case scenario might involve the PLA garrison in a clear-out operation that could end in bloodshed. Another might be a state of emergency in Hong Kong or a fast track to “one country, one systems”.
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