Communist China’s state-run Global Times on Friday warned Hong Kong protesters they are “like grasshoppers at the end of autumn whose days are numbered.”
Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping issued his most direct pronouncements to date from the BRICS summit in Brazil, pledging full support for the Beijing-aligned government of Hong Kong and declaring that “stopping the violence and restoring order is Hong Kong’s most urgent task at present.”
The Global Times castigated “rioters” in Hong Kong for escalating violence to “intimidate citizens who love the country and Hong Kong” while attempting to “silence pro-establishment politicians by creating black terror.”
“Violent as they are, the rioters are afraid. So they wear masks to evade the law. Looking around the world and reviewing history, it’s easy to learn that many evil forces came to their end overnight,” the Communist paper mused ominously, noting that many of the street battles in the “final struggle” of the protest movement are occurring close to facilities where heavily-armed police units and People’s Liberation Army troops are garrisoned.
The Global Times repeated the Communist Party line that Hong Kong’s massive protest movement is a creation of the United States, and gave the protesters a not-so-oblique warning that American troops will not protect them when Chinese troops hit the streets for a crackdown:
Hong Kong should be governed by Hongkongers and Beijing has given a high degree of autonomy to the city. The country has always been willing to control the situation in the special administrative region under the existing governance structure. If the mobs arbitrarily escalate the challenge, leading to more serious and widespread disorder and humanitarian disaster, direct intervention by the country is inevitable.
The Hong Kong public should have the confidence that the 1.4 billion compatriots in the mainland are standing together, heart to heart, with them. Their mainland fellows are paying close attention to the situation in Hong Kong, caring about the living conditions and safety of people there. Under no circumstance will the country and mainland society abandon Hongkongers who love the country and the city.
The US is using Hong Kong rioters as a tool and will abandon them if necessary. But mainland society and Hong Kong citizens are family. The country will firmly defend the future of patriotic Hongkongers.
Xi Jinping, attending an economic summit in Brazil on Thursday, responded to the death of a 70-year-old man during a street battle between pro- and anti-Beijing demonstrators by promising full Chinese support for Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam.
“We will continue to firmly support the chief executive in leading the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to govern in accordance with the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and firmly support the Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law,” Xi said.
Xi stressed Beijing’s determination to protect its “national sovereignty, security, and development interests” and enforce China’s “one country, two systems” policy upon Hong Kong.
“We resolutely oppose any foreign forces seeking to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong,” he added, possibly referring to deliberations in the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bill that would require constant re-certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy by the State Department to maintain its special trade status and authorize tough sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for human rights violations.
Hong Kong police said on Friday the elderly man who died was taking a lunch break when he was hit by “hard objects hurled by masked rioters.” They described the attack as deliberately “malicious” and said they were investigating it as a murder.