China Warns Hong Kong Rioters as Airport Grounds All Departures

Violent anti-government marchers in Hong Kong are showing signs of terrorist activity, China warned, as the protesters have flooded the city’s airport, causing all flights from Hong Kong to be cancelled.

Yang Guang, the Spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in Beijing, blasted the protesters for undermining the city’s “rule of law and social order”, Asia News reported.

“Hong Kong’s radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging, Yang stated.

The rioting poses “a serious challenge to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability”, Yang noted.

The large-scale protests in Hong Kong, China’s self-governing territory, entered into their tenth consecutive week over the weekend. The protesters erected barricades, marched to police stations, and hurled bricks and petrol bombs at officers. Riot police used tear gas to disperse the unruly crowds.

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On Monday, thousands of demonstrators flocked to Hong Kong International Airport, where they staged a massive sit-in. The action “seriously disrupted” the airport’s work, the administration announced, and led to all flights out of the city being cancelled.

“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted … all flights have been cancelled,” the city’s airport authority said in a statement.

With roads to the airport congested and car parks reported full, the authority advised all passengers to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible.

The protests, which were initially against the now suspended extradition bill that would have allowed suspects in criminal cases to be moved to mainland China for trial, now demand broader political reform and the resignation of city officials.

The Chinese government has been consistently accusing external forces of attempting to destabilise the situation by supporting the protesters.

On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying advised her US colleague, Morgan Ortagus, on Friday to rethink her statements instead of trying to conceal the United States’ involvement in the Hong Kong crisis by accusing China.

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“The official spokeswoman of the US State Department should first reevaluate her statements and actions, and not discuss media reports and use them as an excuse to attack other countries’ governments … trying to cover the facts of the United States’ interference in China’s domestic affairs,” Hua said.

The spokeswoman stated that the United States’ actions had caused outrage in China and in Hong Kong, calling for Washington to respect international law and the fundamental principles of international relations.

On Thursday, a pro-Beijing newspaper published a report on a meeting between a US diplomat and the opposition’s leaders. The office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong issued a stern warning against such activities by US diplomats. In response, Ortagus likened the Chinese actions to those of a “thuggish regime”, chiding Beijing for being irresponsible.

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On Sunday, China warned Britain to stay out of its internal affairs after British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab called for an independent investigation into the riots in its former colony.

The angry reaction came after the British Foreign Office announced on Friday Raab had talked on phone with Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam and reminded her of citizens’ right to hold protests in Hong Kong. 

“It is simply wrong for the British government to directly call Hong Kong’s Chief Executive to exert pressure,” Hua said, noting that Hong Kong is no longer a British colony and the UK has no supervisory rights.

“The Chinese side seriously urges the UK to stop its interference in China’s internal affairs and stop making random and inflammatory accusations on Hong Kong,” she stated.

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