China calls for tough security laws to end unrest in Hong Kong

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — China has called the lack of tough security legislation in Hong Kong one of the main reasons for the continued violent pro-democracy demonstrations in the city for months, calling the enactment of such legislation an “urgent task.”

The call, which is likely to fuel the anger of protesters resentful of the police’s harsh reaction to them, came in a lengthy statement issued last Saturday by the Chinese central government, which oversees Hong Kong’s rule.

Zhang Zhaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao bureau, acknowledged in the statement that improvements in self-government in Hong Kong should be made, as factors such as rising housing costs and a widening gap between rich and poor contributed to the unrest.

But Zhang also expressed support for tightening the grip of power, stressing the urgent need to draft laws criminalizing sabotage and other challenges facing China’s central government, stressing that the regional leader and members of the House of Representatives should be “patriots” loyal to China.

The Hong Kong government’s efforts to introduce such legislation in 2003 caused demonstrations that forced it to withdraw and set aside.

The lack of such laws is “one of the main reasons for intensifying the activities of local separatist and extremist forces,” Zhang said.

“The need to protect national security and promote law enforcement are outstanding issues and urgent tasks facing the HKSAR government and people in all walks of life,” he said.

Zhang’s statement is likely to anger Hong Kong protesters who have disrupted business in their city, a global financial center.

Chinese President Xi Jinping last week expressed a “high degree of confidence” to Hong Kong Chief Executive Kri Lam after speculation Beijing was preparing to oust it.

While giving no indication that Lam’s expulsion was imminent, Zhang said, “The chief executive must be guaranteed to be national and trusted by the central government that loves the country and Hong Kong.”

“The administrative, legislative and judicial organs of the city must also be made up of patriots.”

Hong Kong’s House of Representatives is semi-democratic, with half of the seats elected at the grassroots level and the rest being selected by pro-China committees, ensuring its loyalty to Beijing.

The failure to hold fully free elections, especially since the appointment of the city leader by a pro-Beijing committee, has led to years of protests culminating in recent unrest.

Hong Kong holds provincial council elections on November 24, when the pro-Beijing camp is expected to suffer a major defeat.

Since the protests began, voter registration has increased in the territories and the pro-democracy camp has for the first time presented candidates in all constituencies.

But there are fears the election could be canceled because of the violence.

On Wednesday, a pro-Beijing politician in the city was wounded in a knife attack by a man who pretended to be pro-Beijing.

The attack came three days after a Mandarin-language man stabbed at least three pro-democracy protesters shouting pro-Beijing slogans and also bitten off a local provincial council member.

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