Date
21 October 2019
An anti-extradition bill protest outside the government headquarters in Admiralty on Sept. 15. A high-level party apparatus charged with overseeing law enforcement in the mainland has begun to weigh on the HK events. Photo: HKEJ
An anti-extradition bill protest outside the government headquarters in Admiralty on Sept. 15. A high-level party apparatus charged with overseeing law enforcement in the mainland has begun to weigh on the HK events. Photo: HKEJ

Why the CPLAC has begun to wade in on HK issues frequently

As the Hong Kong protest movement shows no signs of ending, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (CPLAC) of the Communist Party of China has begun to weigh in on the matter frequently since the beginning of this month.

On Sept. 1, the commission ran an article on its official Weixin account lambasting the protests that took place on Aug. 31, accusing the demonstrators of resorting to “terrorist means”. Then last week, it spoke out against tycoon Li Ka-shing for his moderate remarks on protesters.

As a high-level party apparatus charged with overseeing law enforcement in the mainland, the CPLAC has until this month rarely commented on the anti-extradition bill movement.

Yet it is now throwing in its bit on the movement in a relatively frequent manner.

A seasoned figure within the pro-establishment camp says the CPLAC’s hawkish rhetoric in recent weeks could be part of Beijing’s efforts to bring a halt to the violence and end the chaos in Hong Kong.

In particular, the CPLAC’s recent comments could have been intended to bring Hong Kong’s tycoons and business leaders, or the so-called “big masters”, into line and pressure them to take the lead in helping things return to normal in the city.

A message is being sent as Beijing feels that the rich and powerful in Hong Kong have not been voicing enough opinions on the incidents since the outbreak of the anti-extradition bill movement.

Meanwhile, the pro-establishment figure also said that Beijing has now come to terms with the fact that the anti-government protests in Hong Kong are likely to continue through Oct. 1 National Day.

According to the source, Beijing leaders now have no intention of setting a deadline for quelling the violence and chaos in Hong Kong.

He also believes that Beijing would find protests in certain parts of the city on weekends acceptable starting from now to Oct. 1.

Nevertheless, he advised Hongkongers, especially young people, that protesters could risk Beijing’s direct intervention if they cross its red line and inflict serious damage on the airport or the railway, or indulge in any acts that would mark serious breach of the “one country, two systems”.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 16

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/RC

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.