China foreign minister slams 'unacceptable' violence in Hong Kong

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his AFP interview in paris

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his AFP interview in paris (AFP Photo/GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)

China's foreign minister on Monday denounced the "unacceptable" violence by protesters in Hong Kong, saying they had been encouraged by "foreign forces".

"What is happening in Hong Kong today are in no way peaceful protests," Wang Yi said in an interview with AFP in Paris.

"It's violence pure and simple. These are unacceptable acts in any country," he added, accusing the protesters of attacking police and passers-by and paralysing transport.

Hong Kong has been riven by increasingly violent protests for more almost five months, with demonstrators demanding greater democracy and police accountability as violence spirals on all sides.

China runs Hong Kong under a special "one country, two systems" model that grants the international hub certain liberties but ensures the city's leadership ultimately answers to Beijing.

"There are foreign forces which are encouraging this sort of violence in the streets with the aim of destabilising Hong Kong, sowing chaos... to wipe out the historic progress made since the one-country-two-systems policy was applied," said Wang.

Such action will never succeed," he added, insisting that the Hong Kong government would be able to re-establish "social order and respect for the rule of law".

With "support from Beijing, Hong Kong will continue to apply the one-country-two-systems formula", Wang stressed.

Wang also took aim at foreign media, complaining that some of them "call this violence democratic and peaceful, in total disregard to reality".

These media outlets "do not hesitate to describe the actions of the police as violence. If such allegations can be perceived as reality, how can we imagine that there is still justice in this world?".

In Hong Kong on Monday, tens of thousands joined an unauthorised but peaceful afternoon rally which quickly descended into chaos as small groups of hardcore protesters threw petrol bombs and rocks at a police station, mainland China businesses and multiple subway station entrances.

Police responded with water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes that lasted well into the night.