United Kingdom warns of consequences over Hong Kong freedoms


China's government strongly backed Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's embattled administration on Tuesday, saying the occupation and vandalizing of the city's legislature by pro-democracy protesters amounted to "serious illegal acts" that endangered the social order.

Before protesters entered the building, riot police were stationed inside. Officers grabbed the cart after it became wedged in the broken glass and repelled the protesters with pepper spray.

Around 2 million people showed up at a march last month, shocked at a police crackdown on young protesters who surrounded the legislative buildings a few days before.

Protesters use iron bars to try to get past the metal gates at the LegCo building.

Protester Leo Wong said many residents mistrust the government, which has promised to cancel unpopular initiatives in the past only for them to change their mind later. Kurt Tong made the comments Tuesday at an Independence Day celebration, where he also said "freedom of expression" is most effective and proper when exercised peacefully. "So they can't push too hard", said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a China expert at Hong Kong Baptist University.

President Donald Trump, who met Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 event in Japan over the weekend, said that the protesters in Hong Kong are "looking for democracy". Photo taken on July 1, 2019.

The government has already postponed debate on the extradition bill indefinitely, leaving it to die, but protest leaders want the legislation formally withdrawn and Lam's resignation.

A tired-looking Lam appeared in public for the first time in almost two weeks, before the storming of the legislature, flanked by her husband and former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa.

In an address after a flag-raising ceremony marking the anniversary of the handover, Lam said the protests and two marches that attracted hundreds of thousands of participants have taught her that she needs to listen better to youth and people in general.

"After this incident, I will learn the lesson and ensure that the government's future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community".

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They replace the national flag with a black version, while the Hong Kong flag flies at half-mast beside it.

"Ninety-nine percent is about the condemnation of the protesters, but very little time was left for how the government is going to resolve this crisis", he told Bloomberg Television of her speech, speaking outside the legislature.

China said in 2017 the Sino-British Joint Declaration was a historical document with no practical significance, and has regularly urged Britain not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs as protests have mounted.

For the United Kingdom waiting for China's response to the Hong Kong protests, these are anxious times. Meanwhile, crowds gather in Victoria Park for the annual July 1 march. "She is protected by our flawed system".

Tensions spiralled on June 12 when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters near the heart of the city, sending plumes of smoke billowing among some of the world's tallest skyscrapers. The area around Golden Bauhinia Square, where the ceremony takes place, has been shut down since Saturday. "I don't know why the government is harming us".

For the other demands, she said releasing arrested protesters without an investigation would not uphold the rule of law. "The rule of law is the last firewall between us and the Chinese Communist Party".

Beijing's foreign ministry delivered a barbed rebuke of Mr Hunt's pledge, which pointed to the 1984 guarantee that Hong Kong would continue to have a high degree of autonomy.

The American diplomat said he believes Hong Kong has the right ideas and basic structure in "one country, two systems" to succeed and prosper as a society.

China rejects all such statements as foreign interference.

The Chinese government also reiterated that no foreign nation should comment or intervene in protest actions in Hong Kong, saying the issue were exclusively Chinese affair and other countries "must not support any violent criminals in any form, and not send any misleading signals or take any erroneous actions".

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