China’s President Xi Jinping has called for an end to violence in Hong Kong, in strongly worded comments that coincide with the second protest related death in a week in the semi-autonomous city.
Speaking on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil on Thursday, Xi said that ongoing “radical” protests had trampled the city’s rule of law and that “stopping the violence and restoring order” was Hong Kong’s most “urgent task.”
The Asian financial hub has been gripped by a renewed spate of violent unrest in recent days, following the death of a 22-year-old student who fell near the scene of demonstrations last Friday. Protesters have clashed with riot police at multiple locations, paralyzing much of the territory and forcing citywide school cancellations.
In his remarks Thursday, Xi pledged his support for the city’s police authorities and its embattled leader Carrie Lam “in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law.” The rare comments by Xi came just hours before a 70-year-old man who was struck by a brick during clashes between protesters and their opponents died of his injuries.