China warns “criminal” democracy movement against further protests

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Hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting in Hong Kong for weeks, and violence is recurrent. The leadership in Beijing warns: “Whoever plays with fire will perish.”

After the violent clashes following a general strike in Hong Kong, the Chinese government has warned the protest movement in the financial capital of a further escalation. “Those who play with fire are killed,” said Yang Guang, spokesman for the State Council’s Chinese Special Administrative Region office in Hong Kong and Macau.

The demonstrators in Hong Kong called Yang a “criminal.” Directly addressed to her, he said: “This is a message to all criminals: Do not hold back our reticence for weakness, never underestimate the firm determination and enormous strengthening of the central government to maintain stability.” The “radical protests” had pushed Hong Kong to the edge of a “dangerous abyss”.

Yang’s remarks are the Chinese government’s most explicit warnings to the demonstrators so far. Responding to questions about a possible deployment of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Yang said the Hong Kong government was “fully capable of restoring order and stability.”

China also warned US politicians against interference and urged them to stop immediately negotiating with Hong Kong separatists. The city belongs to China, said the Hong Kong Foreign Ministry. The People’s Republic would resolutely respond to any measures that damaged the country’s sovereignty.

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