China's government strongly backed Hong Kong's embattled administration Tuesday, saying pro-democracy protesters who occupied and vandalized the city's legislature committed "serious illegal acts" that endangered the social order. Chinese state media broadcast video of police in Hong Kong clearing protesters from the streets earlier in the day in a break with their silence over days of demonstrations that have challenged Beijing's authority over the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing condemned the acts that saw several hundred demonstrators smash through glass and steel barriers to enter the building, defacing portraits of lawmakers and spray-painting slogans, per the AP. The protests coincided with the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from British to Chinese rule.
China's central government voiced support for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the city's police force in dealing with the incident in accordance with law. "The violent attacks ... are serious illegal acts that trample on the rule of law and endanger social order," said Geng. "We strongly condemn it." He also reiterated China's rejection of any foreign nation commenting on or intervening in protest actions in Hong Kong, saying such matters were a purely Chinese affair and other countries "must not support any violent criminals in any form, and not send any misleading signals or take any erroneous actions." Speaking in Hong Kong, US Consul General Kurt Tong criticized violence among government critics but said all should have the right to express their views peacefully, including foreign residents with longstanding ties to the Asian financial hub.
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