Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good morning! Welcome to the Chinese Embassy.
On 3 July, I held a press conference here to answer questions about the amendments to Hong Kong's extradition laws and to explain China's position. For more than a month since then, the opposition in Hong Kong and some radical forces have continued to use their opposition to the amendments as an excuse for various types of radical street protests. The violence involved has escalated and the damage to the society has expanded. The movement has gone way beyond free assembly and peaceful protests. It is posing a severe challenge to law and order in Hong Kong, threatening the safety of life and property of the Hong Kong people, undermining the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and challenging the principled bottom line of "One Country, Two Systems". As a result, Hong Kong now faces the gravest situation since its handover.
A handful of extreme radicals have been undermining rule of law, social order and "One Country, Two Systems" in Hong Kong. But they have taken cover under the so-called "pro-democracy movement" to hide their real intention and to whitewash their disruptive actions. This "neo-extremism" is both highly deceptive and destructive. The "neo-extremists" stormed the Legislative Council Complex, attacked the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, assaulted police officers and brought Hong Kong airport to a standstill by illegal assembly. Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already show signs of terrorism. The Central Government of China would never allow a few violent offenders to drag Hong Kong down a dangerous abyss. We would never allow anyone to harm the rule of law and sound development in Hong Kong. We would never allow anyone to undermine "One Country, Two Systems" at any excuse. Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further into unrests uncontrollable for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Central Government would not sit on its hands and watch. We have enough solutions and enough power within the limit of the Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly.
This is a critical moment for Hong Kong. How will this end? This question is in the mind of all those who care about the future of Hong Kong. It is also hitting headlines and making "cover stories" in British media. Our answer to this question is firm and clear: We hope this will end in an orderly way. In the meantime, we are fully prepared for the worst. So how will this end in an orderly way? I think the following four points are extremely important.
First, the priority now is to support the SAR Government in ending violence and restoring order. I hope that Hong Kong people, especially the young people who have been led astray, would have a clear understanding of the current situation in Hong Kong and cherish the sound development of Hong Kong after the handover, which has not come by easily. I hope they will keep the big picture in mind, rally behind the Chief Executive and the SAR Government, uphold rule of law and justice in Hong Kong, and safeguard national unification as well as Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. Hong Kong people from all walks of life must refuse to be used or coerced by the radical forces. They should say "no" to all violence and lawlessness. They should support the SAR Government in governing Hong Kong in accordance with law, and support the Hong Kong police in strict and rigorous enforcement.
Second, the violent offenders must be brought to justice in accordance with law. It is the basic requirement of the rule of law that all laws must be observed and all offenders must be held accountable. The violent and lawless perpetrators must be brought to justice no matter who they are or however hard they try to whitewash their actions. If anyone in this country questions this point, let me ask them this: Would the UK allow extremists to storm the Palace of Westminster or damage its facilities, and get away with it? Would the UK give permission for attacking police officers with lethal weapons or set fire to the police station without any punishment? Would the UK allow so-called pro-democracy rioters to occupy the airport, obstruct traffic, disturb social order or threaten the safety of people's life and property? Aren't all these regarded as crimes in the UK?
Indulging lawlessness is tantamount to blaspheming against justice. Conniving in violence is tantamount to trampling on the rule of law. No country under the rule of law, no responsible government, would sit back and watch as such violence rages on. The Central Government of China firmly supports the SAR Government and Hong Kong police in strict, rigorous and decisive enforcement, so as to bring the offenders to justice as soon as possible and uphold the rule of law and social order in Hong Kong.
Third, foreign forces must stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs. Evidence shows that the situation in Hong Kong would not have deteriorated so much had it not been for the interference and incitement of foreign forces. Some Western politicians and organisations have publicly or covertly given various types of support to the violent radicals, and tried to interfere in the judicial independence of Hong Kong and obstruct Hong Kong police from bringing the violent offenders to justice.
I want to reiterate here that Hong Kong is part of China; no foreign country should interfere in Hong Kong affairs. We urge those foreign forces to respect China's sovereignty and security, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop conniving in violent offences. They should not misjudge the situation and go down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will "lift the stone only to drop it on their own feet".
Fourth, the media must shoulder due social responsibilities. Since what happened in Hong Kong, I have to say, the Western media have failed to play a credible role. Instead of reporting the situation in a just and objective manner, they have confused right and wrong, given unbalanced account and misled the public. There has been massive coverage on so-called "right to peaceful protest" but few reports on the violent offences by the extreme radicals such as disruption of social order, attacks on police officers and injuries to bystanders. There has not been a word about the extensive public support for the SAR Government and for restoring law and order in Hong Kong. The lawless and violent offenders who undermine rule of law are whitewashed and named "pro-democracy activists" in media reports. But the legitimate law enforcement measures of the SAR Government and the police to uphold law and order and protect life and property of the people are labeled "repression".
Such selective reporting and distortion have resulted in the prevalence of wrong information and have misled the public, especially young people in Hong Kong. It is fair to say that Western media have inescapable responsibility for the current situation in Hong Kong!
I sincerely hope that Western media would reflect on the social impact of their reporting, shoulder due social responsibilities, and report the situation in Hong Kong in a just and objective manner. I hope they would stop speaking up for the extreme violent offenders, refrain from pouring oil over the flame in Hong Kong, and foster a sound environment of public opinion so that law and order could be restored in Hong Kong.
To help you understand the fourth point that I have just made, I would like to show a short video clip, so that you could see some scenes and hear some voices that are absent in Western media.
"Order fosters prosperity while unrest brews regress." Given what is happening in Hong Kong, this ancient Chinese teaching cannot be more relevant.
It is in the interests of both China and the international community including the UK to have a prosperous and stable Hong Kong, where over three hundred thousand British citizens live and work, and where three hundred British companies are doing business.
I sincerely hope that people from all walks of life in the UK will have a clear understanding of the big picture, act in the interest of Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and refrain from saying or doing anything that interferes in Hong Kong's affairs or undermines rule of law in Hong Kong. I am confident that with the support of the Central Government of China and under the leadership of the SAR Government and Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong will bring violence to an end and restore law and order at an early date. Hong Kong, the "oriental pearl", will once again shine brightly.
Now I would like to take your questions.