Beijing 'firmly supports' Hong Kong's government, police, says Chinese President Xi Jinping

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 14, 2019, 08.40 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The latest reaction from China comes with violence spiking as pro-democracy protests enter the sixth month, with protesters bringing much of Hong Kong to a standstill since Monday. 

Hong Kong violence threatens "One Country, Two Systems", President Xi Jinping said on Thursday as the pro-democracy protests continued to escalate in Chinese-ruled city.

Recent actions by protesters have "seriously challenged the baseline principle of 'one country, two systems'", Xi said at a summit of BRICS countries in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

Xi also said Beijing "firmly supports" Hong Kong's government and police and that "stopping violence and controlling the chaos while restoring order is currently Hong Kong's most urgent task".

The latest reaction from China comes with violence spiking as pro-democracy protests enter the sixth month, with protesters bringing much of Hong Kong to a standstill since Monday. 

The protests, originally over a now-suspended extradition bill to mainland China, have plunged Hong Kong into its deepest crisis since its British handover to Beijing in 1997 and pose a major challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The unrest has widened into calls for greater freedom, fuelled by worries about the erosion of rights guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" formula, adopted after the 1997 handover, such as an independent judiciary and the right to protest.

The protests are already taking a toll on the city's economy and tourism, with the special administrative region on the cusp of its first recession in a decade.

Demonstrators have five demands: withdraw the extradition bill which has been accepted; establish an independent inquiry into the protests and perceived police brutality, stop describing the protests as "rioting", waive charges against those arrested, and resume political reform.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, China's Global Times tabloid, owned by the state-run People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said on Twitter that the Hong Kong government was expected to announce a weekend curfew. 

However, the post was later deleted with Its editor saying that there was "not sufficient" information to back it up. While the Hong Kong government said the rumours were "totally unfounded".

(With inputs from agencies)