HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – People who call for the end of one-party dictatorship are the “real enemies of Hong Kong”, Beijing’s Liaison Office Director Luo Huining told a forum on Saturday (June 12) in the city to mark the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary.
Those who try to use Hong Kong as a geopolitical pawn, as a tool to contain China, are destroying the foundation of “one country, two systems” and the real enemies of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, Mr Luo said.
“Without a series of major decisions by the central government to set things right, it’s hard to imagine how Hong Kong could have turned from chaos to governance,” he said.
While the event was intended to commemorate the founding of the ruling party in Beijing, it also served to celebrate the government’s blows against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition.
China has handed down a dizzying series of measures to rein in dissent in the former British colony, jailing leading activists and requiring future candidates to be “patriots” who respect the Communist Party.
Saturday’s event at the Wan Chai Convention & Exhibition Center was jointly hosted by China’s expanding array of agencies overseeing the city. Attendees included Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her predecessor, Leung Chun-ying.
China is holding events around the country in advance of the Party’s centennial next month, an occasion President Xi Jinping is using to highlight his own success in fortifying Beijing’s control over what it sees as its own territory.
Mr Xi’s government moved to rewrite the rules of political engagement in Hong Kong in the aftermath of historic and sometimes-violent protests in 2019.
The event on Saturday coincided with fresh calls for protests to mark the second anniversary of a violent clash between demonstrators and police outside the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The 2019 rally, which police dispersed with tear gas after protesters attempted to gain access to the compound, signaled a turning point toward more physical tactics by both sides.
Several activists have posted calls for protests on social media, urging people to gather in the shopping districts of Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. Police were planning to deploy more than 2,000 officers around the city on Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
One activist group, Student Politicism, said its convenor, Wong Yat-chin, had been arrested for the second Friday in a row, according to Radio Television Hong Kong. Wong was detained by officers near his home on suspicion of “promoting an unauthorised assembly,” RTHK said.