HONG KONG: The government of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) rejected foreign interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.
In a statement on Wednesday, which was made in response to an open letter from a group of overseas politicians and persons to the HKSAR chief executive, the HKSAR government firmly refutes unfounded and misguided claims in the letter.
In the statement, a spokesperson of the HKSAR government said that over the past six months violence had escalated and reached an alarming level.
Masked rioters vandalized public facilities and shops, committed arson, hurled petrol bombs as well as wantonly attacked police officers and people with different views, the spokesperson said.
An innocent man was set on fire in broad daylight by protesters while a government contract cleaner was killed by a brick thrown at him. So far, 520 police officers have been injured on duty. Meanwhile, no protesters were killed as a result of direct police action.
The extent of students and minors being involved in such violent protests is particularly worrying, the spokesperson added.
On New Year’s Eve, rioters hurled petrol bombs in various districts, causing damage to a police vehicle and three private cars, according to Hong Kong police.
Despite the rampant violence, police exercised restraint in law enforcement, the spokesperson said, noting that police did not initiate actions against protesters and only responded with appropriate and proportionate force when protesters took part in illegal activities.
The actions and response of police over the Christmas period, and at all times over the past six months, were only in response to the blatant disregard for public safety and order by radical protesters, the spokesperson said, adding that police acted with restraint and the minimum force necessary to restore law and order.
The spokesperson further stated that the HKSAR government is determined to safeguard the core values of Hong Kong at all times as they are “the cornerstone of our long-term prosperity and stability.”
Noting that the extensive media coverage — local, international and in the digital world — about the protests and events, the spokesperson said it is “unprecedented in Hong Kong’s history.”
“That in itself is evidence enough that the freedom of the press is well protected, and citizens of Hong Kong continue to enjoy the freedom of participating in lawful and peaceful demonstrations to express their views,” the spokesperson said.