AP

Hong Kong official warns lockdown protests hurt security

Nov 29, 2022, 9:27 AM | Updated: 11:35 pm

A person holds a piece of white paper during a protest gathering at the University of Hong Kong in ...

A person holds a piece of white paper during a protest gathering at the University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. On Tuesday, about a dozen people gathered at the University of Hong Kong, chanting against virus restrictions and holding up sheets of paper with critical slogans. Most were from the mainland, which has a separate legal system from the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, and some spectators joined in their chants. (AP Photo/Bertha Wang)

(AP Photo/Bertha Wang)

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s security minister on Wednesday warned that the city’s protests against China’s anti-virus restrictions were a “rudiment of another color revolution” and urged residents not to participate in activities that might hurt national security.

Chris Tang said some events on university campuses and the city’s streets had attempted to incite others to target China’s central government in the name of commemorating a deadly fire in the country’s far west last week.

“This is not a coincidence but highly organized,” he told reporters at the legislature.

Protests erupted in major mainland cities over the weekend after the blaze that killed at least 10 in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, prompted angry questions about whether firefighters or victims trying to escape were blocked by COVID restrictions.

Crowds angered by severe restrictions called for leader Xi Jinping to step down in the biggest show of public dissent in decades.

Smaller protests also emerged at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong, and Central over the past two days. The participants included mainland Chinese students and residents as well as locals. They held up white papers and chanted slogans such as “No PCR tests but freedom!” and “Oppose dictatorship, don’t be slaves!”

The gatherings were the biggest in the city in more than a year under rules imposed by Beijing to crush a pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, which has a separate legal system from the mainland.

Tang alleged that some active members of the widespread rallies in 2019 also took part in the latest Hong Kong events, noting some people planned the recent protests via social media platforms including some “anti-China” sites.

“I have previously mentioned that we face national security risks. Some people are unwilling to give up and always want to endanger our national security and Hong Kong’s security. This is exactly the situation I am talking about,” he said.

He said the city has to guard against these risks if residents do not want to return to what happened in 2019.

The 2019 protests were sparked by a since-withdraw extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. Critics worried the suspects would disappear into China’s opaque and frequently abusive legal system. Opposition morphed into months of violent unrest in the city as the protesters’ demands widened to include universal suffrage and other democratic aspirations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: Ambulances are seen at the airport where a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe t...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Man dies after turbulence; Iran funerals; Israel media law

A Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet in a span of about three minutes.

1 day ago

Image: Bruce Nordstrom, left, and Jeannie Nordstrom attend the Nordstrom NYC Flagship Opening Party...

Associated Press

Bruce Nordstrom, who helped grow family-led department store chain, dies at 90

Bruce Nordstrom, a retail executive who helped expand his family's Pacific Northwest chain into an upscale national brand, has died.

2 days ago

Image:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime min...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Netanyahu arrest warrant; Assange can appeal; UK blood scandal

The International Criminal Court said it is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu.

2 days ago

Image: In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, President Ebrahim Raisi attends a m...

Associated Press

Iran president and others found dead at helicopter crash site, state media says

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday.

3 days ago

Photo: Shawna Williams, owner of Free Range Cycles, poses outside her shop on May 6, 2024, in Seatt...

Mae Anderson, The Associated Press

Bike shops boomed early in the pandemic. It’s been a bumpy ride for most ever since

For the nation's bicycle shops, the past few years have probably felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with numerous twists and turns testing their endurance.

3 days ago

Image: A person wears a T-shirt with the names of Kristin Smith, Charity Lynn Perry, Joanna Speaks,...

Associated Press

Man probed in deaths of women in northwest Oregon indicted in 3 killings

A man who has been under investigation in the deaths of four women whose bodies were found across northwest Oregon has been indicted.

4 days ago

Hong Kong official warns lockdown protests hurt security