China warns Hong Kong not to politicize issues

Beijing—China’s third-ranked Communist Party leader Zhang Dejiang said Hong Kong shouldn’t “politicize everything” and should instead focus on integrating its economy with China’s, according to members of China’s parliament who met with him on Sunday.
A day after Premier Li Keqiang pledged greater economic support for Hong Kong at the opening of annual parliamentary sessions in Beijing, Zhang said that while a recent riot in Hong Kong was a concern, it was one the city’s government could handle.
“He (Zhang) said one needed to take a broader perspective to look at it, and to not politicize everything,” said Rita Fan, a standing committee member of China’s parliament chaired by Zhang.
Chinese media has blamed the riot in early February on “radical separatists” seeking to destabilize Hong Kong. Other delegates who met with Zhang said that while Zhang didn’t single out anyone for blame, there remained concern among Beijing’s top leaders towards an embittered cluster of youth groups in Hong Kong using increasingly radical or violent means to demand greater autonomy.
China maintains Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China and as such resolutely opposes any moves towards independence. Reuters was not able to contact Zhang for comment. Calls to China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in Beijing after regular business hours went unanswered.
“They worry about the rise of separatism,” said Lau Siu-kai, a former senior Hong Kong government adviser who met with Zhang on Friday with other members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a top parliamentary advisory body.
“If something big happens in Hong Kong that is seen as threatening national security, I don’t expect China to wait, they may take the initiative to protect national security,” Lau told Reuters.—Reuters

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