The Hong Kong Coalition will deliver 10 million masks to the public. Photo: RTHK

New calls to crack down and suppress Hong Kong’s protesters have been made by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) as it called for people to support the newly formed Hong Kong Coalition.

The HKMAO on Wednesday called on Hong Kong people to support the pro-establishment Hong Kong Coalition, which was co-founded by two former chief executives. 

An unnamed spokesperson at the HKMAO said in a statement that Beijing had seen a “resurgence in violent activities” in Hong Kong as the coronavirus situation eased. The spokesperson said the special administrative region (SAR) – Hong Kong – would never be calm unless all the “violent black-clad protesters” were removed.

The statement said violence from protesters, together with their laam caau (burn with us) strategy, was a “political virus” within Hong Kong society.

It said the protesters wanted to push Hong Kong into an abyss, block the deepening cooperation between the SAR and the mainland, resist the central government’s overall jurisdiction over the SAR, try to achieve complete autonomy and turn the SAR into an independent or a semi-independent political body.

The statement added that the more sympathizers these “tyrants” had, and the more tolerant people were of their actions, the greater the price Hong Kong would have to pay. It said these “dark forces” were enemies of the “one country, two systems” principle and that those in powers should “perform their duties in accordance with the law” and act to “suppress evil.”

The HKMAO also praised the Hong Kong Coalition for its goals of upholding the “one country, two systems” principle and the rule of law.

The statement came after former Hong Kong chief executives Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying announced on Tuesday the establishment of the Hong Kong Coalition, which has 1,545 members from different sectors.

Tam Yiu-chung, the sole Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, was the coalition’s secretary-general.

The coalition’s members are basically the same group of Beijing loyalists who formed the Our Hong Kong Foundation, which was established under Beijing’s call to counteract the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

Tycoons including Li Ka-shing and the heads of 11 universities including The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Vice-Chancellor Rocky Tuan were among the members of the coalition. 

During last year’s anti-extradition protests, Li was criticized by pro-Beijing newspapers after he suggested giving Hong Kong’s young protesters a way out. 

Tuan also faced criticism from the pro-Beijing media as he promised to help his students who had allegedly been assaulted by police. 

Way Kuo, President of the City University of Hong Kong, is not a member of the coalition. He said it was a collective decision made by the university’s management not to join the coalition. 

In a media briefing, Leung said there was a need to think about how to help boost the economy and help youngsters, including those about to finish their university degrees, to find employment.

“For the other issues, I hope everyone in Hong Kong can work together on that … We are not an official organization, but just a non-government organization. We do not intend to replace the work of the government,” Leung said. The coalition will support the government, especially on their policies to fight the epidemic, he added.

Leung also said the coalition would kick off its activities to “unite the people” by giving away 10 million face masks across all 18 districts this weekend.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer and prominent scholar at the Chinese University Hong Kong, said Beijing did not choose to strengthen the existing Our Hong Kong Foundation but set up the coalition as it wanted to allow Leung to play a bigger role in it.

Choy said the coalition would echo Beijing’s tough lines and use its resources to support the pro-establishment camp in the Legislative Council election in September. 

Lau Siu-kai, the vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the setting up of the coalition would help the pro-establishment camp unite its supporters and win more trust and respect from Hong Kong people. 

Read: Liaison Office slams ‘burn with us’ strategy

Read: As virus retreats, HK protesters return