Beijing warned on Monday that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China and any form of secessionism "will be crushed," after pro-democracy demonstrators begged US President Trump to intervene in the ongoing anti-government movement now in its 14th week.
According to the China Daily newspaper, Sunday's pro-democracy rally proves that foreigners have been behind the protests, and warned that participants should "stop trying the patience of the central government," reports Reuters.
Chinese officials have accused foreign forces of trying to hurt Beijing by creating chaos in Hong Kong over a hugely unpopular extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be tried in Communist Party-controlled courts.
Anger over the bill grew into sometimes violent protests calling for more freedoms for Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula. -Reuters
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, meanwhile, warned the United States and other countries that it was "totally unacceptable" for the United States or anyone else to intervene in the situation.
"The Hong Kong government completely disagrees and expresses deep regret that foreign parliaments are interfering in our internal affairs through legislation," Lam said during her weekly news conference, adding "We will never allow them to be stakeholders in Hong Kong's internal affairs."
Protesters on Sunday expressed support for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 introduced by US Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) in June. The bill calls on the US government to protect the rights of Hong Kong protesters, including an assessment of whether "sensitive dual-use items subject to the export control laws of the United States are being used to develop the "social credit" system of China."
"Democrats and Republicans continue to stand united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding the hopeful, free and democratic future that is their right," said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week in a show of bipartisan support for Smith's bill.
According to Lam, approximately 1,400 Kong Kong companies benefit from Washington's relationship with the city and that "any particular provisions applied to Hong Kong by the Americans are not exclusively for the benefit of Hong Kong," according to CNN. The passage of the US bill would undoubtedly harm the city's economy, which has already taken a hit due to the protests.
On Tuesday, she called for the public to stop resorting to violence, saying "Escalation and continuation of violence cannot solve the issues faced by our society now. It will only deepen the conflict, contradiction, splits, and even hatred in society."
"To mend the society and to bring back peace, we are very willing to engage people directly in a dialogue."
The Hong Kong protests began with opposition to a controversial extradition bill which would allow suspects to be taken to mainland China for trial in PRC-controlled courts. It has since evolved into a general anti-government / pro-democracy movement which shows no signs of abating.