BEIJING (REUTERS, AFP) - China on Monday (June 10) strongly backed the Hong Kong government on a controversial proposed law that would allow extraditions to the mainland, and voiced opposition to “outside interference” following a massive protest against the legislation.
Beijing “will continue to firmly support” the Hong Kong administration, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing.
“Second, we firmly oppose any outside interference in the legislative affairs” of the city, he added.
Earlier on Monday, an official Chinese newspaper said certain "foreign forces" are trying to hurt China by creating chaos in Hong Kong over an extradition Bill that has prompted mass protests in the former British colony,
In an editorial, the China Daily said that the law was much-needed legislation.
"Any fair-minded person would deem the amendment Bill a legitimate, sensible and reasonable piece of legislation that would strengthen Hong Kong's rule of law and deliver justice," it said.
"Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign."
The English-language publication added that some protesters in the Special Administration Region (SAR) have been misled about the changes proposed in the law, while others are trying to promote "a political agenda".
"They have failed to realise that the opposition camp is using them merely as pawns in its manoeuvres to reap political gains by damaging the SAR government's credibility and reputation, or that some foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong."
It did not say who the foreign forces may be.
Riot police surrounded Hong Kong's Parliament early on Monday after what had been a peaceful million-strong protest against the Bill descended into running clashes between police and protesters.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of thousands had jammed Hong Kong's streets to protest against the Bill in the biggest demonstration in years. Many said they feared it put the city's vaunted legal independence at risk.
Foreign governments have expressed concern at the law, warning of the impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial hub, and noting that foreigners wanted in China risk getting ensnared in Hong Kong.
Human rights groups have repeatedly cited the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems accessing lawyers in China.
Another Chinese newspaper, the widely read Global Times tabloid, said on Monday that Hong Kong opposition groups and their international supporters were "politically hyping up" normal Hong Kong legislative activity.
The Hong Kong government would not back down, said the paper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.
"The Hong Kong SAR government and mainstream public opinion have worked hard for rule of law and righteousness, and will absolutely not give up halfway," it said in an editorial.
The protests were otherwise barely mentioned in mainland China.
Searches on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, took users to reports by pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspapers, including the Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao.
BBC and CNN reports on the protest were blanked out in China, although the channels can be viewed only in high-end hotels and a small number of apartment buildings and are not available to most Chinese.