Published On: Fri, Aug 16th, 2019

Hong Kong protests: China warns of Tiananmen Square response to mass protests | World | News

Demonstrators shut down Hong Kong International Airport after taking their protests into their tenth week. Though flights have now resumed, protestors have taken their fury back to the streets, with police clashes common. Today an editorial in a popular Chinese newspaper – which is run by Xi Jinping’s administration – reminded demonstrators of the similarities to the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The Global Times’ piece gave a rare reference to the incident, which is usually taboo in mainland China.

It wrote: “The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4 political incident in 1989.

“China is much stronger and more mature, and its ability to manage complex situations has been greatly enhanced.”

The civil unrest began over a controversial extradition law – but weeks after Chief Executive Carrie Lam shelved the bill, protests have continued.

Fears of military intervention – and further violent clashes between protestors and the state – grew after Chinese troops were seen last night carrying out drills just four miles from the Hong Kong border.

Some fear that the crackdown could eventually reach the levels of the tragedy in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Known as the June Fourth Incident, student-led demonstrations were crushed when the government declared martial law following almost two months of protests.

Troops began firing at the demonstrators, with the death toll reportedly in the thousands.

A day later saw the famous ‘Tank Man’ incident, where a lone man defiantly stood in front of a column of tanks leaving the square.

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His warnings echo that of US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The hawkish official, who is known for his aggressive rhetoric towards US adversaries, yesterday warned China against creating a “new” Tiananmen Square incident.

He told VOA: “The Chinese have to look very carefully at the steps they take because people in America remember Tiananmen Square.

“They remember the picture of the man standing in front of the line of tanks, they remember the statue of Lady Liberty, they remember voices of the Chinese people asking for freedom and democracy, and they remember the repression of the Chinese government in 1989.

“It would be a big mistake to create a new memory like that in Hong Kong.”

The Global Times editorial went on to accuse Washington of having a hand in the demonstrations.

It read: “Washington in recent days has ratcheted up rhetoric on the Hong Kong issue and grossly interfered in China’s domestic affairs.

“Washington has the ability to fool Hong Kong’s radical protesters and incite them to stage a colour revolution.

“But it is unable to influence Beijing’s attitude on the Hong Kong issue.”

Trump last night called for a “personal meeting” with President Xi to sort out the issue.

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