About a thousand people gathered at Edinburgh Place in Central between 8 and 9 pm on Thursday to express their thanks for the tireless work of Hong Kong's firefighters and paramedics during the past five months of violent unrest. Photo: RTHK

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday reiterated his country’s support for the Hong Kong government’s efforts to bring an end to the chaos plaguing the city. Xi said ending the riots and re-establishing public order should be the government’s top priorities.

The central government will continue to support Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong Police Force’s public order enforcement efforts, Xi said during a visit to Brazil for the 11th BRICS Summit.

Beijing strongly supports the Hong Kong’s judicial system’s punishment of violent criminals, Xi said. The Chinese government is determined to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security and economy, and will continue to pursue the policy of “one country, two systems,” he said.

China is opposed to external forces intervening in Hong Kong’s affairs, he added.

His speech came after a tweet on Thursday by the Global Times, a Beijing mouthpiece, saying that a curfew would be imposed in Hong Kong this weekend. Global media reported on the state-funded outlet’s tweet but it was deleted shortly after it was posted.

In a statement issued at about 8 pm, the Hong Kong government dismissed rumors concerning the imposition of a curfew in Hong Kong over the weekend, saying they were completely unfounded.

Riot police patrol in Mong Kok on November 14. Photo: Asia Times

The United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission on Thursday evening published its 2019 annual report, which said the provisions of the 1992 US-Hong Kong Policy Act should immediately cease to apply if the People’s Liberation Army or the People’s Armed Police are deployed.

“China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and its suppression of pro-democracy voices in recent years have fueled opposition, with many protesters now seeing the current demonstrations as Hong Kong’s last stand to preserve its freedoms,” it said.

The future direction of Hong Kong – and US policy – will be determined by the outcome of 2019’s historic protest movement and the extent to which the territory’s government respects the desire of its people to protect their autonomy, according to the report.

Read: HK schools closed, universities begin term break

Clashes continued in different districts across the city on the fourth day of a citywide strike. In a Legco meeting, many pro-establishment lawmakers urged the government to show the public a concrete plan for restoring law and order, but Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung failed to satisfy them.

Clouds of tear gas at Polytechnic University in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo: RTHK

In the morning, riot police fired rounds of tear gas in Tsim Sha Tsui near Polytechnic University while a group of people holding umbrellas assembled on a podium. Police complained that an arrow was shot at them at about 7 am at the intersection of Austin Road and Chatham Road South.

At around 8 am, burning objects were thrown onto the train tracks near Hung Hom MTR Station.

A vandalized MTR station exit in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district during violent protests on Thursday. Photo: Asia Times

Between 11 am and noon, baton-wielding people were seen attacking a man dressed in black in Sheung Shui. Other videos showed gangsters attacking another man and a woman in the district. The police did not arrest any of the attackers.

Meanwhile, a 70-year-old cleaner died on Thursday after he was hit on the head by a brick during clashes between protesters and pro-Beijing people in Sheung Shui on Wednesday.

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YouTube video
YouTube video
A flash mob protest in Central at lunchtime on November 14. Photo: RTHK

At lunchtime on Thursday, a large number of protesters occupied roads in Central and Taikoo. The crowds were dispersed by police.

About a thousand people gathered at Edinburgh Place in Central between 8 and 9 pm on Thursday to express their thanks for the tireless work of Hong Kong’s firefighters and paramedics during the past five months of violent unrest. Those present said fire and ambulance teams had acted in an even-handed way and had always made helping injured people their top priority, regardless of their politics.

In the evening, police fired tear gas at crowds in Mongkok, Tsuen Wan, Sheung Shui and Tuen Mun.

In the afternoon, no protesters were seen in Mong Kok. A private car, which was believed to belong to a policeman, remained where it had been torched on Tuesday evening.

Bank of China branches and a Xiaomi shop, which were seriously vandalized in previous protests, continued to operate behind protective wooden boards. Several Best Mart 360 outlets were closed due to repeated attacks.

A burned car in Mong Kok. Photo: Asia Times
A Bank of China branch in Mong Kok is open to the public. Photo: Asia Times
Shoppers at a vandalized Xiaomi shop in Mong Kok. Photo: Asia Times

As traffic lights were damaged, some masked volunteers helped direct traffic in Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei. A 25-year-old protester surnamed Chan told Asia Times that he had helped direct traffic in the district several times, as he did not want to see accidents occur. However, he said it should be the police force’s responsibility to direct traffic when signals are out of order. At around 7 pm, police officers appeared on the scene to take over.

A 25-year-old protester surnamed Chan (blurred) helps direct traffic in Yau Ma Tei on November 14. Photo: Asia Times
People help direct traffic in Mong Kok after traffic lights were damaged. Photo: Asia Times
Police direct traffic on November 14. Photo: Asia Times

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