Xi said Beijing “firmly supports” Hong Kong’s government and police
China’s President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that Hong Kong’s unrest has “seriously challenged” the one country, two systems” principle governing the semi-autonomous city, the comments are reported by Chinese state media.
For a fourth straight day, pro-democracy protesters blocked the city with barricades and rallies, days before a police officer shot a protester with a live round and a man was set on fire after expressing pro-Beijing views.
Xi said Beijing “firmly supports” Hong Kong’s government and police and that “stopping violence and controlling chaos while restoring order is currently Hong Kong’s most urgent task,” the People’s Daily reported.
Recent actions by protesters have “seriously challenged the baseline principle of ‘one country, two systems'”, Xi said in rare comments on the violence in Hong Kong at a summit of the five major emerging national economies or BRICS countries in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.
Protests have rocked Hong Kong for nearly six months.
Initially focused on opposition to a proposed extradition law, protestors’ demands have evolved into broader calls for democracy and investigations into police violence.
Earlier on Thursday Hong Kong police accused protesters of firing arrows at several police officers on patrol on the vicinity of the Polytechnic University.
A 70-year-old man died after he was hit by a brick during clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters late Thursday, the second person to die in a week of worsening violence.
“The patient’s situation continuously deteriorated. He passed away” late on Thursday, a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Prince of Wales hospital said in a statement.