After a violent weekend of clashes between Hong Kong protesters and police, China issued a warning that any efforts to undermine the sovereignty of the PRC over the city will be quashed.
"The end is coming for those attempting to disrupt Hong Kong and antagonize China," stated an opinion piece published by the state's Xinhua News Agency.
The message was directed at the protesters and “their behind-the-scene supporters,” presumably blaming the West for interfering.
The commentary said three lines must not be crossed: no one should harm Chinese sovereignty, challenge the power of the central authorities or use Hong Kong to infiltrate and undermine the mainland.
"Anyone who dares to infringe upon these bottom lines and interfere in or damage the 'one country, two systems' principle will face nothing but failure," the piece declared. "They should never misjudge the determination and ability of the central government... to safeguard the nation's sovereignty, security and core interests.
With the protests attracting global attention, the demonstrators and the authorities are also fighting a PR battle. On Saturday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry took an unusual step of distributing images of alleged protester vandalism to the international press, in an apparent attempt to discredit the movement. (Nikkei Asian Review)
The commentary comes after a weekend of tense clashes between police and protesters. On Saturday, protesters lit fires and threw petrol bombs, while police fired tear gas and water cannons. Authorities also targeted suspected protesters in metro stations, beating them with batons. On Sunday, protesters blocked roads and transportation links to the Hong Kong airport.
The pro-democracy demonstrations, which began over a proposed extradition bill and other demands, have been occurring for nearly three months.