China's ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian. Photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - China's ambassador in Pretoria Lin Songtian on Thursday said the prolonged violent protests in Hong Kong, which have left a trail of destruction, are funded efforts to provoke the Beijing central government.

"The evil intention is to force or provoke the central government of China to take concrete and strong measures, or to crackdown on the violence in Hong Kong. If we take those measures, the Americans are ready to fabricate excuses and sensation so that they can contain China in all rounds. Those are the dirty tricks they always [play]. Their evil intention is not difficult to see," said Lin as he addressed local and international journalists in Pretoria.

"China, a country with a sound civilisation under the strong leadership of the communist party with general secretary Xi Jinping at its core, has the ability to see through and deal with the dirty tricks of the anti-China forces in some western countries led by the United States. Their attempts will never succeed."

He said the protests had lasted for six months because of the strong financial backing of the activists by foreign governments, particularly the United States and United Kingdom (UK).

"The violent criminals in Hong Kong putting masks on in disguise, holding national flags of the United States and the UK, keep escalating violent protests. They blatantly attacked the Hong Kong legislative council, the government office buildings, threw petrol bombs into subway carriages and vandalised and paralysed the public transportation systems such as airports. They have been engaged in looting, burning and they occupied campuses to assault ordinary students," he said.

Narrating the criminal activities engulfing Hong Kong, Beijing's top envoy in Pretoria said the protesters "have overstepped the universally recognised bottomline of the rule of law, morality and human civilisation and their actions cannot be tolerated and would not have been allowed in any civilised country or society under the rule of law".

Lin said Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, had Beijing's full backing.

The protests have continued for over six months, with some analysts commending China for exercising restraint and strategic patience in dealing with the dissent. 

The protests were initially against a bill introduced by the Hong Kong government that, if enacted, would empower local authorities to detain and extradite wanted fugitives to the Chinese mainland. This led to concerns that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents to the legal jurisdiction of mainland China, and would undermine the region’s autonomy and civil liberties. The bill was ultimately withdrawn on October 23.

Until 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain as a colony. It was returned to China where, under the "one country two systems" set-up, it has some autonomy and its citizens enjoy rights not applicable in mainland China.

African News Agency (ANA)