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‘Those playing with fire will perish by it’: Beijing sends warning to Hong Kong protesters

‘Those playing with fire will perish by it’: Beijing sends warning to Hong Kong protesters
The Chinese authorities slammed the violence and riots seen in the massive protests over a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong. The activists, however, vow to stay on the streets.

Beijing warned protesters to not underestimate the “immense strength of the central government” and said that all rioters will “eventually be punished.”

We would like to make clear to the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them: those who play with fire will perish by it.

“At the end of the day, they will eventually be punished,” Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office spokesperson, Yang Guang, stated in one of the strongest warnings from China yet.

The massive protests in Hong Kong, a self-governing territory in China, were sparked by a controversial extradition bill proposed by the local government. It would allow for suspects in criminal cases to be sent from Hong Kong to mainland China to stand trial. 

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Protesters and human rights campaigners fear that the bill will pave the way for dissidents and minorities to be prosecuted. The rallies were initially peaceful but later spiraled into clashes with police. The protesters staged sit-ins in parks, malls, and government offices, at one point occupying and vandalizing the city’s parliament building. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam eventually suspended work on the extradition bill indefinitely, and apologized for the way the authorities handled the situation. Nevertheless, the protests continued and more riots followed.

Protesters are now demanding that the extradition bill be abandoned completely, and are calling for the resignation of city officials, the release of protesters who have been arrested, as well as wider political reform.

Carrie Lam pointed out that the protesters’ demands have changed since the rallies began and warned that the unrest and violence are pushing Hong Kong “to the verge of a very dangerous situation.”

Some even wantonly said they want to revive Hong Kong. This is destroying the lives of 7 million Hongkongers that we treasure. Under such circumstances, things will only turn worse if we indulge with them.

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