China urged Hong Kong to punish demonstrators who break the law as thousands of teachers added their voices to the city’s growing protest movement and marched to the chief executive’s residence on Saturday.
Protesters who have broken laws must be punished accordingly, You Wenze, spokesman for China’s National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Committee, said in an interview with state TV on Saturday.
The protests started in early June against a bill easing extraditions to the mainland, and have since morphed into a broader stand against China’s rule over the financial hub. Demonstrators massed at the city’s international airport, forcing its closure.
The social unrest shows no signs of abating: China continues to back leader Carrie Lam and protesters are still sticking to their demands, which include her resignation.
The main rally on Sunday in the city centre will be organised by a group that has drawn some of the biggest numbers during the demonstrations. It will be a test of the movement’s ability to sustain itself, particularly after protesters detained and beat two mainland citizens at the airport — a move that risked hurting their support among the broader public.
Tens of thousands joined a pro-government rally in Tamar Park, Admiralty, filling the space adjacent to the central government offices.
“Support the motherland, support one country two systems; anti-violence, save Hong Kong,” they chanted. Organisers are estimating the crowd size at 476,000, according to broadcaster TVB.
Some protesters have challenged the one-China principle, and they must be punished accordingly, You said.
“There’s no majesty in laws if breaking laws can go unpunished,” said You, whose committee is a panel of China’s legislature that crafted the Basic Law of Hong Kong — its mini constitution.
As people protest in Hong Kong, they are or will be joined by demonstrations of support in hubs across the world from until Sunday, from San Francisco’s Embarcadero Plaza to London’s Trafalgar Square and cities throughout Canada, Australia, Germany and Taiwan.
In Sydney, hundreds of China supporters draped in the red national flag protested against “selfish” Hong Kong demonstrators. They marched down Sydney’s George Street in the central business district, chanting “One China” and “We support Hong Kong police.”
Jonah Zhu, 30, who arrived in Sydney from the Chinese city of Guangzhou three weeks ago to study teaching, said he was at the rally to call for an end to the demonstrations in Hong Kong.
“We support Hong Kong, this is why we are here,” he said.