World Bulletin/News Desk
Chinese President Xi Jinping Sunday gave his direct support to the Hong Kong government’s struggle with pro-democracy protests, state media reported Sunday.
Xi said the central government in Beijing “fully affirms and supports” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his government's efforts to safeguard the rule of law and maintain social order, Xinhua news agency reported.
The president made his remarks during a meeting with Leung, who is in Beijing to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on Monday and Tuesday.
The agency added that Xi said the rule of law is a key foundation for Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity.
The key demand of protesters in Hong Kong, who have occupied three sites in the territory for more than a month, is that Beijing change its plans for the way candidates in Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election are selected.
In August the National People's Congress Standing Committee decided an election committee would nominate candidates for the race. The protesters fear the committee will select only pro-Beijing candidates.
In an apparent reference to this decision and reporting Xi’s comments without directly quoting him, the Xinhua report said Xi had described the blueprint as “a major step forward for China's drive to modernize its governance and improve the capacity of governing, and it is also of great significance to the complete and precise implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and the Basic Law.”
Xi said Beijing would maintain “long-term stability and prosperity in Hong Kong and Macao and protect the interests of the people there in line with law,” the agency reported.
The report added the central government “expects all circles in Hong Kong can… seize the historic opportunity to realize universal suffrage according to law and keep a stable, peaceful social environment for the citizens.”
Xi’s comments come as the territory’s first post-colonial leader said China’s leadership will not change its mind on the election framework.
Tung Chee-hwa, who was chief executive from 1997 to 2005, had been asked in an open letter from the Federation of Students on Friday to arrange a meeting with China’s leaders.
"[Tung] thinks they are just repeating their views and stance in the letter, which won't help to break the impasse," his spokesman was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post.
"Mr Tung points out that the central government understands the different views in Hong Kong. The decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on August 31 will not change."
Tung also urged students to end the protests and return to their studies.
In a statement, the Federation said: "Simply asking people to retreat from protest sites will not solve the political dispute.”
Last Mod: 09 Kasım 2014, 12:01