Skip to main content

Pro-democracy activism not in Hong Kong's interest, China warns

By Zoe Li, CNN
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Protesters rallying for democracy on July 1, 2013 carry British-era Hong Kong flags and a banner that reads 'Chinese Colonists Get Out!!'
Protesters rallying for democracy on July 1, 2013 carry British-era Hong Kong flags and a banner that reads 'Chinese Colonists Get Out!!'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hong Kong prepares for a potentially huge protest against Chinese political interference
  • Annual demonstration buoyed by recent political activities in the city
  • Chinese government and state-run media warn against Hong Kong residents embracing the pro-democracy movement
  • China's microblogging site Weibo shows mixed reaction to events in Hong Kong

Are you in Hong Kong? Share your images of the protests with CNN iReport.

Hong Kong (CNN) -- As potentially hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens prepare to take to the streets in a now-annual display of public disapproval of Beijing's interference in the city's affairs, voices in China's state-run press are warning that the protests are a bad idea.

Every year, on the anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule, pro-democracy protestors take part in huge, peaceful protests against what they see as the heavy-handed influence of the central government.

Hong Kong is governed according to China's "one country, two systems" model, enjoying a high degree of autonomy in its government, judiciary, and legal systems under a leadership approved by Beijing.

Organizers are hoping that this year's march may see a particularly large turnout, following an unofficial referendum -- held by activist group Occupy Central -- that ended on June 29 with a total of nearly 800,000 ballots cast in support of free elections for the city's next leader. The figure represents about 22% of registered voters in Hong Kong, out of a total of 3.5 million registered voters.

READ: City braced for mass protest

Hong Kong holds 'unofficial' referendum
Hong Kong's democratic referendum
China's warning to Hong Kong

As well as the march, which begins in the city's Victoria Park and ends in the Central business district, this year will see an overnight sit-in, which has been planned for after the march. The Federation of Students and Scholarism will camp overnight on Chater Road, the city's business heart, as well as outside the government offices in the Admiralty district of downtown Hong Kong, until Wednesday morning.

State response

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council emphasized on Monday that the referendum is "illegal and invalid." The following day the Chinese edition of the Global Times, a state-run publication known for its uncompromising op-eds, published an editorial warning that recent pro-democracy activities -- including the referendum, as well as the upcoming rally and sit-in, are polarising Hong Kong society.

The article urges Hong Kong people not to be "kidnapped" by the radical opposition.

Another state mouthpiece, the English-language China Daily, points out in an article that political forces calling for full autonomy in Hong Kong are ignoring economic realities.

"Without the mainland, (Hong Kong) would be left with only half of its trade, one-fourth of its foreign investment and visitors, not to mention only one-tenth of its water and food supply," the piece says.

The Global Times also reports that it polled 1,434 people in major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, and found that 77% of respondents think Hong Kong's future should be jointly decided by the entire population of China, and 82% polled said that they would support the government to take strong moves to maintain stability should riots in Hong Kong occur.

Microbloggers react

Weibo, China's microblogging platform, showed a more diverse range of opinions on Hong Kong's recent pro-democracy activities, with users in the the mainland, with positions ranging from support to scathing criticism of Hong Kong's political aspirations.

"Hong Kong people know where their interest lies in and they don't need your (Global Times) phony kindness," said user @lddldd0000. "Hong Kong stand up!" The view was echoed by @Pianyezhiqiu, who posted: "Residents in Hong Kong have political ideals. They're not like the puppets who only chase after benefits."

However, not all netizens were as tolerant of Hong Kong's political experiments. "The 'referendum,' 'occupy central,' such and such are against the Basic Law, and therefore, the acts are invalid and illegal," said @ htkg2011.

User @Mingweizhe was a little more phlegmatic.

"Let's ignore them. Let Hong Kong people handle their own business."

READ: What you should know about the protests

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
It'd be hard to find another country that has spent as much, and as furiously, as China on giving its next generation a head start.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0532 GMT (1332 HKT)
In 1985, Meng Weina set up China's first private special needs school in the southern city of Guangzhou.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
Despite China's inexorable economic rise, the U.S. is still an indispensable ally, especially in Asia. No one knows this more than the Asian giant's leaders, writes Kerry Brown.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
For the United States and China to announce a plan reducing carbon emissions by almost a third by the year 2030 is a watershed moment for climate politics on so many fronts.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
China shows off its new stealth fighter jet, but did it steal the design from an American company? Brian Todd reports.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
Airshow China in Zhuhai provides a rare glimpse of China's military and commercial aviation hardware.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A new exchange initiative aims to bridge relations between the two countries .
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
Xi and Abe's brief summit featured all the enthusiasm of two unhappy schoolboys forced to make up after a schoolyard dust-up.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
Maybe you've decided to show your partner love with a new iPhone. But how about 99 of them?
November 3, 2014 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)
Can China's Muslim minority fit in? One school is at the heart of an ambitious experiment to assimilate China's Uyghurs.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of thousands of Americans learning Chinese.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says he needs to maintain good economic ties with China while trying to keep Beijing's push for reunification at bay.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
Chinese drone-maker DJI wants to make aerial photography drones mainstream despite concerns about privacy.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general confesses to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in war on corruption.
ADVERTISEMENT