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
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
 A man uses his smartphone on July 16, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. Only 53.5% of Japanese owned smartphones in March, according to a white paper released by the Ministry of Communications on July 15, 2014. The survey of a thousand participants each from Japan, the U.S., Britain, France, South Korea and Singapore, demonstrated that Japan had the fewest rate of the six; Singapore had the highest at 93.1%, followed by South Korea at 88.7%, UK at 80%, and France at 71.6%, and U.S. at 69.6% in the U.S. On the other hand, Japan had the highest percentage of regular mobile phone owners with 28.7%. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
ADVERTISEMENT