Published: Wed, August 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

China's Hong Kong office condemns airport clashes as 'near-terrorist acts'

China's Hong Kong office condemns airport clashes as 'near-terrorist acts'

Soon after that rally, China begins blaming the protests on what it says is a small group of organisers colluding with Western governments. They present President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.

The demonstrations on Tuesday turned violent after protestors shut down the airport and clashed with riot police, raising fears that Beijing may be moving closer to considering force.

At least three men were mobbed inside the airport by protesters.

Flight operations resumed at the airport Wednesday morning after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence highlighting the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and the authorities in the Chinese city that's a major global travel hub.

This rhetoric amplifies as Western politicians throw their support behind Hong Kong protesters, whose demands to shelve the extradition Bill had evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

Check-in desks were operating normally while staff scrubbed the terminals clean of blood and debris from overnight. Check-in counters reopened to queues of hundreds of tired travellers who had waited overnight for their flights. It said an area of the airport had been set aside for demonstrations, but no protests would be allowed outside the designated area.

When Beijing said this week that it saw the "first signs of terrorism" among Hong Kong's young pro-democracy protesters, it marked an ominous step in a progression of escalating rhetoric.

The strongly worded statements by China's central government follow violent clashes between black clad protesters and riot police at Hong Kong's global airport, which saw hundreds of flights halted for a second day in one of the world's busiest transit hubs.

Mr Trump on Tuesday said his intelligence had confirmed Chinese troops were gathering across the border. Local media reported that an injunction had been issued by a local court to clear the airport of protesters.

For the life of him, US President Donald Trump can't explain why critics would associate Washington with Hong Kong's unrest, expressing bewilderment in a tweet just before sounding the alarm about a Chinese invasion of the city.

On Monday, Pelosi tweeted, "It is alarming to watch the #HongKong police with support from Beijing intensify their use of force against the protesters and label them violent criminals".

US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell warned China on Monday that any violent crackdown on protests in Hong Kong would be "completely unacceptable".

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the "one country, two systems" arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong after China took it back from Britain in 1997.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam is warning that weeks of protests are putting the territory's stability in danger.

"Extreme political ideas have found frequent expression in Hong Kong, with some even raising "Hong Kong independence" slogans recently".

"Concerning to see what's happening in Hong Kong and the worrying pictures of clashes between police & protesters at the airport", Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Twitter. Such posts were the most-discussed topics on China's social media platforms on Wednesday.

Beijing also condemned this week some protesters for using risky tools to attack police, calling the clashes "sprouts of terrorism".

"Police have arrested five persons for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons, assaulting police officers and breaching of the peace", police said in an online statement.

Some reactions on China's social media platforms called for Beijing to intervene while many others urged calm.

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