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
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT