China won't 'sit on its hands' if HK protests intensify: envoy

August 16, 2019 09:43
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming:  “We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of the Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly.” Photo: Reuters

China will use its power to quell Hong Kong protests if the situation deteriorates further after some protesters have shown signs of terrorism, Chinese Ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming said.

US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with the protesters to defuse weeks of tensions.

Trump told reporters on Thursday he did not want to see a resort to violence to quell the protests in Hong Kong and reiterated that he wanted to see China “humanely solve the problem”.

“I am concerned. I wouldn’t want to see a violent crackdown,” Trump said, speaking in Morristown, New Jersey. “If [Xi] sat down with the protesters – a group of representative protesters – I’d bet he’d work it out in 15 minutes. ... I know it’s not the kind of thing he does, but I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea.”

In London, Ambassador Liu said: “Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further ... the central government will not sit on its hands and watch.”

“We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of [the] Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” Liu  told reporters on Thursday. “Their moves are severe and violent offenses, and already show signs of terrorism.”

He added: “The central government of China will never allow a few violent offenders to drag Hong Kong down a dangerous road, down a dangerous abyss.”

China’s ambassador accused unidentified foreign forces of fomenting violent protests in Hong Kong, warning them that their “conniving” efforts had been noticed and that they would end up damaging themselves.

“Foreign forces must stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs,” he said. “Stop conniving in violent offenses – they should not misjudge the situation and go down the wrong path, otherwise they will lift the stone only to drop it on their own feet.”

He added: “Evidence shows the situation would not have deteriorated so much had it not been for the interference and incitement of foreign forces. Hong Kong is part of China. No foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.”

Liu also accused Western media of being unbalanced in their reporting and of confusing right and wrong.

On Thursday, hundreds of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) conducted exercises at a sports stadium in Shenzhen.

The Friday edition of China’s state-controlled tabloid Global Times warned that China had the option to “forcefully intervene” and lashed out at what Beijing describes as US interference in Hong Kong.

“If Hong Kong cannot restore the rule of law on its own and the riots intensify, it’s imperative then for the central government to take direct actions based on the Basic Law,” it said, saying the Shenzhen PAP deployment was “a clear warning”.

Meanwhile, two Hong Kong opposition lawmakers visiting the United States on Thursday urged the outside world to stay focused on the Hong Kong-related developments.

“For the international community to speak up for Hong Kong is extremely important, and we see that across the American political establishment,” Dennis Kwok Wing-hang of the liberal-democratic Civic Party said at the Asia Society think tank in New York.

He and fellow party member Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu were to meet with US lawmakers.

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