Conflicts could hurt Hong Kong economy, People's Daily warns

July 03, 2019 09:30
Anti-extradition bill protesters break into the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong on July 1. China has termed the violence as an ‘undisguised challenge’ to its rule. Photo: Reuters

Confrontations and outbreaks of lawlessness in Hong Kong could damage the city's reputation as an international business hub and seriously hurt its economy, China’s People’s Daily warned on Wednesday.

“It is not surprising there are some disagreements and even major disputes about certain issues, but if we fall into the whirlpool of ‘overpoliticization’ and artificially create division and opposition, it will not only serve no purpose, but will also severely hinder economic and social development,” the Communist Party newspaper said in an editorial, Reuters reports.

Rule of law does not mean a small number of “extremists” should be allowed to conduct violent crimes that would damage Hong Kong’s reputation as an international business city, the paper said.

It warned that Hong Kong is already under pressure as a result of changes to the global economy and intensifying competition and “cannot bear turbulence and internal friction”.

The warning came after hundreds of protesters besieged and broke into Hong Kong's legislature late on Monday after a demonstration marking the anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule in 1997.

The turbulence was triggered by an extradition bill opponents say will undermine Hong Kong’s much-cherished rule of law and give Beijing powers to prosecute activists in mainland courts.

China called the violence an “undisguised challenge” to the “one country, two systems” model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years.

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