Skip to main content

Pro-democracy activism not in Hong Kong's interest, China warns

By Zoe Li, CNN
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
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
See CNN's complete coverage on China.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is Xi Jinping a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 2:31 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 12:14 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
Hong Kong's narrow streets were once a dazzling gallery of neon, where banks and even bordellos plied their trade under sizzling tubular signs.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Three more officials have been given the chop as part of China's anti-corruption drive, including former aides to the retired security chief.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
As thousands of Hong Kongers prepare for an annual protest, voices in China's press warn pro-democracy activism is a bad idea.
updated 12:37 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Hong Kongers are demanding the right to directly elect their next leader, setting up a face-off with Beijing.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
updated 4:36 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
updated 11:34 PM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
updated 7:47 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Anna Coren visits Yulin's annual dog meat festival. Dogs are part of the daily diet here, with an estimated 10,000 dogs killed for the festival alone.
updated 2:38 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
People know little about sex, but are having plenty of it. We take a look at the ramifications of a lack of sex education in China.
updated 4:12 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Hong Kongers have reacted angrily to a Chinese government white paper affirming Beijing's control over the territory.
The emphasis on national glory -- rather than purely personal achievement -- is key.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
A replica of the Effel Tower in Tianducheng, a luxury real estate development located in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province.
What's the Eiffel Tower doing in China? Replica towns of the world's most famous monuments spring up all over China.
updated 8:13 PM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Rapid development hasn't just boosted the economy -- it has opened up vast swathes of the country, says a man who has spent much of his life exploring it.
updated 2:54 AM EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
The World Cup is apparently making a lot of people "ill" in China.
ADVERTISEMENT