Beijing says Hong Kong protests 'trample on the rule of law'

Damage incurred a day after protests broke out in Hong Kong.
(Image credit: Jorge Silva/Reuters)

China's state media was silent about the mass demonstrations in Hong Kong on Monday. But Beijing spoke up on Tuesday, denouncing the protests as "radical" and accusing the protesters of trampling on the rule of law.

Monday's demonstrations, which are part of a series of protests sparked by a controversial bill proposal that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China, coincided with the 22nd anniversary of the day Britain ceded the city to China. A group of mostly young activists smashed their way into Hong Kong's legislative council where they wreaked havoc. The chaos drew China's ire, with the government adding that they would support Hong Kong's persecution of those behind the "atrocities."

"If the violence which happened to the legislative council in Hong Kong happened in Europe or the United States, how would they deal with it?," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said.

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The United Kingdom, though, warned Beijing not to break its promises to protect freedoms in Hong Kong, reminding China of the terms the sides agreed to when Hong Kong was reincorporated as a Chinese territory, which included the right to protest.

"There will be serious consequences if that internationally binding legal agreement were not to be honored," British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, who is a candidate to step in as the country's next prime minister, said.

While the U.K. has declared its "unwavering" support for the protesters, the government has also encouraged the demonstrators to refrain from violence.

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.