President Xi Jinping’s latest remarks may herald the “final stage” of the violent protests that have crippled the Hong Kong SAR for several months, according to the city’s opinion leaders.
The president’s words, which are stronger than those made 10 days ago, showed the central government’s resolve to end the unrest that has continued for more than five months, they said.
During the BRICS Summit in Brazil last week, Xi again spelt out “ending the violence and restoring order” as the most urgent task for Hong Kong following his call for unswerving efforts to accomplish this “most important task” when he met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in Shanghai earlier this month.
President’s stern comments are aimed at demanding greater determination from wider-ranging institutions in Hong Kong to curb the violence in a showdown with the rioters
vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies
READ MORE: Xi backs SAR govt moves to counter riots
Lau Siu-kai — vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies — said the president’s stern comments are aimed at demanding greater determination from wider-ranging institutions in Hong Kong to curb the violence in a showdown with the rioters.
The HKSAR government has already established a cross-departmental coordination body to handle the crisis and pledged “more decisive measures” to end the escalating violence.
Xi, for the first time since the unrest broke out in mid-June, threw his weight behind the SAR’s judiciary in bringing violent lawbreakers to justice, said Lau.
Growing public criticisms of the ongoing violence and vandalism have also hastened the “finale” of the protests, he added. Lau believes that the rampant violence, especially that engulfing local universities, will end soon.
Ip Shun-hing — a Hong Kong member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body — said Xi’s remarks, in addressing the international community, serve as a warning to external forces fanning Hong Kong independence.
Ip urged Hong Kong’s judiciary to take more drastic measures, including bringing in overseas judges and setting up a 24-hour special court, to expedite trials of relevant cases, bring the criminals to justice and restore the community’s faith in the rule of law.
Peter Lam Kin-ngok — a CPPCC National Committee member — agreed that Xi’s comments represent a stern warning to the rioters and their supporters.
The president’s firm support for Hong Kong will strengthen residents’ confidence and encourage them to help halt the violence, he added.
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