In his first comments since the extradition bill protests erupted, the central government’s top official in Hong Kong has expressed Beijing’s “resolute” support for chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her administration.
Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong also said at an event at the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that some local people were trying to take advantage of the extradition controversy and bring chaos to the city for their own gain.
Former chief executive Tung Chee-wah, now vice-chairman of the nation’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference also said at the event that a small minority of people who want to profit from the chaos by serving “foreign forces”. He did not specify who they were.
Wang said that he was “saddened” by the recent violence, especially the vandalizing of the city’s Legislative Council building by radical protesters in an “extremely uncivilized” manner which has shocked the world.
Wang also said the central government backs the police in performing their duties and maintaining law and order.
Pro-democratic lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, of the Civic Party, rebutted Wang’s comment in the Ming Pao Daily. He said Wang, who heads the liaison office, wrongly assessed the Hong Kong situation to the central government.
Kwok, together with other pan-democratic figures including Martin Lee Chu-ming, founder of Democratic Party, Anson Chan Fong On-san, former chief secretary, brought the extradition bill issue to the US earlier.
Lam Cheuk-ting, a Democratic Party lawmaker, said Wang’s support for Lam was meaningless. As an example, he said the first chief executive Tung Chee-wah stepped down after 500,000 people joined a demonstration on July 1, 2003. Before Tung quit, the central government had said it fully supported him.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong people continued their relentless pressure against the Lam administration by planning more rallies this weekend.
A rally is planned in Sheung Shui, the New Territories on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, seven media associations in Hong Kong have jointly organized a rally in the morning in Central, while, in the afternoon, another anti-extradition law demonstration will take place in Sha Tin, the New Territories.
Online citizens and local groups have planned weekend demonstrations in Mong Kok, Island East, Hung Hom, Tseung Kwan O and Island West.
Meanwhile, it was understood that at least 10 companies have pulled their advertisement placement from local TV broadcaster, Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB) in response to online calls for a product boycott, Apple Daily reported.
The city dominant broadcaster has been accused of biased news coverage over the extradition bill saga due to its pro-Beijing and pro-police stance.
Sports drink Pocari Sweat confirmed its decision to pull ads, which came after a periodic review of the advertising budget and an assessment of the sales impacts from the use of different media outlets, Bloomberg reported.
The sports drink company won applause from Hong Kong protesters and many called for others to show their support by purchasing the drinks, putting many supermarkets out of stock.
But the move drew criticism by the netizens in mainland China after the Community Party’s mouthpiece Global Times reported the ad-pulling campaign. Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying also asked his supporters to boycott the drinks.
On Wednesday night, Pocari Sweat’s parent company Otsuka Pharmaceutical issued a statement saying that the company tries to serve people from all over the world, and “we sincerely apologise that our reply dated July 9 has caused inconvenience.” The company did not explain the reasons for pulling ads from TVB.