Beijing has urged Hong Kong authorities to crack down even more harshly on pro-democracy demonstrators, raising fears that the mainland is preparing to intervene after more than five months of protests. Beijing's liaison office in the territory issued a statement late Tuesday calling for the government to adopt "every necessary measure to end the unrest and restore order as soon as possible, arrest the criminals and severely punish their violent acts," reports the South China Morning Post. On Wednesday, protesters blocked roads and paralyzed parts of the city's transit system for the third day in a row. Schools sent students home and the education bureau announced that all schools would be closed Thursday. Protesters have rallied in areas including the central business district, where they were joined by office workers.
Beijing's liaison office warned that Hong Kong was "slipping into the abyss." A major flashpoint was the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where police have been firing tear gas and rubber bullets at students who have built barricades at a campus entrance. Police said Wednesday that mainland students who expressed concerns about safety had been evacuated by boat, RTHK reports. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Wednesday that the US Senate should drop bills promoting human rights in Hong Kong, the AP reports. "Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong," he said. "Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and cannot be interfered by any external forces." (An unarmed protester was shot by police Monday morning.)