China’s government says it supports efforts by Hong Kong police to protect the livelihoods and safety of citizens after a weekend of clashes.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Monday that the protests, now in their sixth month, “are no longer a simple, peaceful demonstration.”
“It is a handful of criminals exacting violence against regular civilians,” Geng said. “They have affected social order.”
Geng also criticized U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who commented on Hong Kong and the U.S.-China trade war during a visit to Houston last Friday. Pompeo said the U.S. and other countries hope China will honor its commitment concerning Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework.
Geng said Pompeo has carried a “worn-out script” with him everywhere in a bid to smear China.
The head editor of China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper says Hong Kong police should use snipers to fire live ammunition at violent protesters.
Hu Xijin made the comments Sunday evening during a prolonged standoff between riot police and demonstrators occupying Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Hu wrote on his Weibo social media account: “If the rioters are killed, the police should not have to bear legal responsibility.”
Hu is an outspoken commentator who leads the Global Times, a tabloid under the People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party. He made similar remarks on Twitter, which is banned in mainland China.
Hong Kong has been roiled by six months of anti-government protests.
Hong Kong police have swooped in with tear gas and batons as protesters who have taken over a university campus make an apparent last-ditch effort to escape arrest.
Protesters cornered on the campus emerged in force Monday. They were greeted by tear gas from police who had blocked all ways out of the area.
Riot police moved in and subdued many protesters. It wasn’t clear if any had escaped.
Hong Kong has been rocked by anti-government protests that have raged for more than five months.
Hong Kong’s high court has struck down a face mask ban aimed at protesters trying to hide their identity to avoid arrest.
A ruling issued Monday said that the ban infringes on fundamental rights more than is reasonably necessary for the furtherance of its goals.
The government used its emergency powers to impose the ban last month.
Police have issued a “wanted” notice for an injured woman after they say protesters stopped the ambulance on a Hong Kong street and removed her from police custody.
A statement on the police Facebook page says protesters stopped the ambulance carrying the injured woman early Monday morning. It says protesters hurled rocks and bricks while police officers escorting the woman were trapped inside the ambulance.
One police officer fired three shots from his weapon, but the police say the shots did not hit anyone.
The statement says the 20-year-old woman had been arrested for participating in an unlawful assembly and that anyone who aided her would face the serious charge of assisting an offender, carrying up to 10 years in prison.
For days, Hong Kong’s protesters fortified a university campus to keep police from getting in. Now, cornered by authorities, they are trying to get out.
Officers repelled one attempt Monday morning with tear gas, driving a few hundred protesters back into the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus.
The protesters want to avoid arrest. The police have set up a dragnet around the campus to pick up as many as they can.
It’s a game that has played out repeatedly during the city’s months of anti-government unrest. Protesters cause disruption, then try to melt away before police run in to grab as many as they can.
Other protesters blocked a major road near Polytechnic as the work week started in a bid to help those inside the campus escape by distracting police.