China says Hong Kong will never calm down until violent protesters are suppressed

BEIJING, May 6 (Reuters) – China’s Hong Kong affairs office warned on Wednesday that the city will never be quiet unless the “violent black-clad protesters” are suppressed, describing them as a “political virus” intended by the Beijing independence.

The statement, worded in forceful terms, comes amid growing concern from pro-democracy activists that China is tightening its grip on the former British colony, while confinement to contain the coronavirus has largely prevented them from moving around. streets.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office warned that the Chinese central government will not stand idly by “with this insane and reckless force in circulation” and that the Chinese central government has a responsibility to maintain order and safeguard security. national.

“The scorched earth strategy of black-clad violent protesters is a political virus in Hong Kong society and a major enemy of the ‘one country, two systems’ concept,” the office said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As long as the protesters are not suppressed, Hong Kong will never have peace of mind,” he said.

The Asian financial center was rocked in 2019 by months of massive, sometimes violent, political protests, initially due to an extradition bill – now withdrawn – that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Hong Kong’s economy registered its deepest annual contraction since at least 1974 in the first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic dealt a severe blow to business activity, which was already in decline after anti-government protests.

The Hong Kong and Macao affairs office said that although there were many factors contributing to Hong Kong’s economic problems, the main problem was anti-government protests.

“Hong Kong’s biggest problem comes from the interior, that is, the violent forces that openly call and participate in the ‘lanchao,'” the office said, referring to the scorched earth tactic.

(Information from Huizhong Wu, Yew Lun Tian and Se Young Lee in Beijing and Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; edited by Michael Perry and Simon Cameron-Moore; translated by Aida Peláez in the Gdansk newsroom)

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