China warns HK protesters not to ‘play with fire’

(BBC) – China has issued a strong warning to Hong Kong’s protesters, saying their attempts “to play with fire will only backfire”.

A spokesman for China’s top policy office on Hong Kong told protesters not to “underestimate the firm resolve [of] the central government”.

Hong Kong has seen nine consecutive weeks of anti-government protests. On Monday, a call for a general strike caused severe disruption, and more than 200 flights were cancelled.

Protesters want an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, the complete withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, and the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam.

The demonstrations have frequently ended in violent clashes with police. They are seen as a challenge to Beijing’s authority in the territory – and a reflection of how many Hong Kongers fear that their freedoms are being eroded.

The former British colony is part of China but enjoys unique freedoms not seen on the mainland.

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