Communist China, in an editorial published Thursday by the state-run People’s Daily, blamed pro-democracy protesters for police brutality against minors in restive Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy demonstrations have been raging in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region of China, since June.
The People’s Daily op-ed accused protesters, described as “radicals,” and “the behind-the-scenes black hand” of using teenagers as “political pawns” to sow chaos in Hong Kong, noting:
Teenagers may think it’s “cool” to get out on the street and demonstrate. However, the law has some tolerance for juveniles, which has caused them to challenge the bottom line repeatedly.
Teenagers are not mature enough to tell right from wrong. Provoked by radicals and the media, they are more likely to conduct violent and illegal activities.
By resorting to violence, the radicals have made it clear that they are no longer protesting against the extradition bill. Instead, they willingly served as the minions of the internal and external ill-disposed forces, trying to destabilize Hong Kong, disable the local government, and undermine the “one country, two systems” model.
Although the pro-Beijing Hong Kong leadership this week withdrew the extradition bill that triggered the rallies, the protests continue. The legislation would have allowed extraditions from Hong Kong to communist China.
The People’s Daily editorial appeared to defend law enforcement’s handling of the demonstrations.
“Young people need to learn to express their opinions peacefully and rationally instead of being incited to violence and leaving permanent stains on their lives,” it declared.
Some teenage protesters charged are challenging their arrest. Despite widespread claims of police brutality, the op/ed failed to mention it.
On Thursday, Lam refused to step down and continued to defend the police against claims of abuse.
She doubled down and vowed to use “stern law enforcement” to quell the protests.
The Guardian reported:
Many interviewed by the Guardian have said the escalating police brutality and the government’s hostility towards ordinary people in past months have hurt them deeply and made it hard for them to trust the authorities again. Police have arrested nearly 1,200 people so far.
On Thursday, Lam again rejected protesters’ demands to set up an independent body to investigate police use of force, and said it was impossible to give in to demands for an amnesty for those arrested, saying: “The government cannot do things that are against the rule of law.”
The protests, which started in early June, have morphed into a broader, and increasingly violent, anti-government movement, with animosity between police and protesters reaching boiling point.
China has accused U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration of inciting the unrest on the island, urging it to stop supporting the protests.
There are concerns that China will use its military to crush the unrest.
The Trump administration has urged China to exercise restraint.
This week, China reportedly said it would “show no mercy” to those behind the protests and urged the United States to stop supporting the demonstrators.