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SCIO briefing on current situation in Hong Kong

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A press conference was held Monday afternoon to introduce the central government's position and views on the current situation in Hong Kong.

China.org.cnUpdated: July 30, 2019

The State Council Information Office of China (SCIO) holds a press conference at 3 p.m. on July 29, 2019. [Photo by Liu Jian/China SCIO]

Speakers:

Yang Guang, spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Xu Luying, spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council

Chairperson:

Xi Yanchun, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office

Date:

July 29, 2019

Xi Yanchun:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to attend this press conference. Recently, the public have paid great attention to the situation in Hong Kong. Today, we are delighted to invite the spokespersons of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council --Mr. Yang Guang and Ms. Xu Luying -- to introduce its position and views on the current situation of Hong Kong. They will also answer some of your questions.

Now, I'll give the floor to Mr. Yang. 

Yang Guang:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. It was raining heavily when I came to attend the conference. Thank you for coming out in such bad weather. Today's press conference is held by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. This is the first time for Ms. Xu Luying and myself to meet you as spokespersons for the office. Please allow me to extend our warm welcome and great thanks to you for your attendance here. 

Recently, a string of protests and violent incidents have occurred in Hong Kong after the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) tried to discuss the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. The situation has drawn widespread attention both domestically and internationally. The central government is also paying close attention to the developments.

The HKSAR government decided to amend the two ordinances because of a simple criminal case. Last February, a Hong Kong resident, Chan Tong-kai , was suspected of killing his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan, and fleeing back to Hong Kong. Since the HKSAR government has no jurisdiction over the case, it proposed to amend the two aforementioned ordinances. This would allow the local government to cooperate with the mainland, Macao and Taiwan on extraditing criminal suspects and fugitives in individual cases through a special arrangement. This was because it has not signed agreement with the latter ones on extraditing fugitives and seeking legal assistance in criminal cases. This would be helpful in handling the aforementioned case, and would close an existing legal loophole to jointly combat crime, and uphold law and justice.

Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have insufficient knowledge about the mainland's situation and its legal and judicial systems. They began to doubt the HKSAR government's decision on amending the ordinances. What is worse, some ill-intentioned individuals and media outlets took this opportunity to spread exaggerated or false views, thus causing panic among the public, and obstructing the discussion of the amendments in the HKSAR Legislative Council. In this context, since June, several rather large protests over the amendments have occurred. On June 15, in order to listen to public opinion more widely, and to restore normal social order, the HKSAR government postponed work on the amendments and hence all related legislative activities came to a stop. The central government fully supports, respects and understands the HKSAR government's decision.

Yang Guang:

As to peaceful protests against the proposed extradition law amendments, the HKSAR police have granted approval and provided protection in accordance with the law. However, the intentional violent activities by some radical protesters since June 12 have gone far beyond the proper scope of peaceful demonstrations. They surrounded the Legislative Council building, blocked roads and halted traffic. They hurled bricks, metal rods and petrol bombs at the police and even charged the police cordon lines. They blockaded the Hong Kong Police Headquarters twice, and disturbed the operations of Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Department and Immigration Department, further worsening the situation.

Yang Guang:

On July 1, the day on which the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland was being celebrated, radical protesters stormed the Legislative Council building, vandalized facilities, smeared the emblem of the HKSAR, and tore up copies of the Basic Law of the HKSAR. In a series of violent activities, they fanned hatred towards the police, assaulted and attacked them with corrosive liquids or toxic powders, and even bit off part of a police officer's finger. Such violent acts are outrageous.

Yang Guang:

On July 21, some radical protesters blocked the building of the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong, defaced the national emblem,and painted insulting words on the wall. Their behaviors are extremely serious in nature and have caused very bad influence. In addition, the HKSAR police have raided a homemade-explosives manufacturing lab in a factory building, seizing a large cache of TATP explosives and other materials intended for use in the violent demonstrations. So far, violence has not ceased. The day before yesterday, some radical protesters staged illegal rallies in Yuen Long District and committed a series of violent acts, injuring over 20 people. Yesterday, some radical protesters rallied illegally on Hong Kong Island and charged the police cordon lines there.

Yang Guang:

The marches and demonstrations and violent clashes have lasted more than one month in Hong Kong, impinging on the rule of law, social order, economic and social activities, people's life and international image of Hong Kong. This has saddened all the people who love and care about Hong Kong. I have three points to make.

Yang Guang:

First, it is hoped that people from all walks of life in Hong Kong will clearly oppose and resist violence. What has happened recently, especially the acts of violence committed by a small number of radicals, has undermined Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, challenged the rule of law and social order, threatened the personal and property safety of the residents of Hong Kong, and hit the bottom line of the principle "one country, two systems," and will not be tolerated. Violence will not be tolerated in any civilized society and society of rule-of-law. It is hoped that the general public of Hong Kong will be aware of the seriousness of the current situation and jointly condemn the evil and criminal acts committed by the radicals so as to prevent them from sabotaging Hong Kong.

Yang Guang:

Second, it is hoped that Hong Kong people will resolutely uphold the rule of law. This is the core value that Hong Kong people take pride in, a foundation for a favorable business environment, and an important cornerstone for prosperity and stability. We will not do nothing about the outrageous behaviors by a small group of people. Once the rule of law is undermined, Hong Kong cannot retain its prosperity and stability. The central government firmly supports Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government to rule according to the law, the Hong Kong police in enforcing laws rigorously, the HKSAR government and the judiciary body in meting out punishment to violent criminals according to the law, and patriots and people who love Hong Kong in safeguarding rule of law in Hong Kong. Aware of the huge pressure that the Hong Kong police and their families are suffering, we give our solute to the fearless and excellent Hong Kong police who have been sticking to their posts, fulfilled their duties, and endured humiliation.

Yang Guang:

Third, it is hoped that Hong Kong will get out of the political contentions as soon as possible, and concentrate on developing its economy and improving people's livelihood. Development is crucial for Hong Kong, and it holds the key to resolving various local issues. Although Hong Kong, endowed with favorable conditions and enjoying unique advantages, has laid a pretty good foundation for its development, it can't stand turmoil and riots, which would leave dent on its prosperity and stability. If the chaos continues, the whole society of Hong Kong will bear its brunt. The HKSAR government and the whole society should explore ways and adopt efficient measures to promote local economic growth and improve people's livelihood, especially help young people to cope with difficulties in issues such as housing, education, employment and starting businesses, so as to alleviate their grievances. The central government is willing to join hands with the HKSAR government and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong to create favorable conditions for the development of young people.

Yang Guang:

Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the implementation of the principle of "one country, two systems" there has achieved widely recognized success. The principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy in the HKSAR have been fully implemented. Hong Kong has maintained its prosperity and stability, and is generally recognized as one of the world's freest economies. Its outstanding business environment and global competitiveness are widely recognized by the international community. The people of Hong Kong enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and a broad range of freedoms rarely seen across the world. Hong Kong also continues to rank high in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.

Yang Guang:

Practice fully demonstrates the principle of "one country, two system" provides the best institutional arrangement to ensure Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability. The central government will unswervingly stick to and implement the policy of "one country, two systems," ensure its practice, and will not deviate from its expected direction.

Yang Guang:

It's believed that, with the strong support of the central government and all the people of the Chinese mainland, under the leadership of the HKSAR government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, our compatriots in Hong Kong will be bound to do a good job in administering, building and developing Hong Kong by bravely coping with all kinds of difficulties and challenges. The policy of "one country, two systems" will be bound to show its continued vitality and tenacity.

Yang Guang:

Next, my colleague and I will answer your questions.

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