Chinese official: Hong Kong at 'critical juncture'

A key Chinese official on Monday said that Hong Kong is at a critical juncture as protests wrack the semi-autonomous city.

Yang Guang, spokesman for China’s Hong Kong and Macau affairs office, said in a televised address that those who care about the city should come out against violence, according to Reuters.

He also backed police handling of the protests.

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Protests have roiled Hong Kong for months over a proposed bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China. Despite the bill being suspended, locals have taken to the streets expressing fear that the bill could be brought back up and broaden mainland China’s influence in the city.

The city was guaranteed a legal system independent of Beijing when it was transferred from British rule under a “one country, two systems” order.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the controversial bill in June, but protests have continued.

The protests have gradually transformed into calls for broader democratic reforms, as well as the removal of Lam from office.

They have also intensified — this weekend thousands of pro-democracy advocates peacefully occupied Hong Kong’s airport and were eventually met with police opposition.

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