Hong Kong activists called off protests on Wednesday (Sep 11) in remembrance of the Sep 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and denounced a Chinese state newspaper report that they were planning “massive terror” in the Chinese-ruled city.
Hong Kong has been rocked by months of sometimes violent unrest, prompted by anger over planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to China but broadening into calls for democracy and for Communist Party rulers in Beijing to leave the city alone.
The Facebook post said “leaked information was part of the strategy being schemed by radical protesters in their online chat rooms”.
The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent legal system, triggering the anger over the extradition Bill.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she will withdraw the Bill but many Hong Kong residents fear Beijing is steadily eroding the city’s autonomy.
China denies meddling and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest. The protesters called off action on Wednesday. In solidarity against terrorism, all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sep 11, apart from potential singing and chanting. Protester Karen, 23, said the China Daily report was worrying.
“When they try to frame the whole protest with those words, it alarms me. They are predicting rather than reporting,” she said. “I think people calling it off today is a nice move.
The protests spread to the sports field on Tuesday, as many football fans defied Chinese law to boo the national anthem ahead of a soccer World Cup qualifier against Iran.
Several peaceful protests are planned for coming days, combining with festivities marking the Mid-Autumn Festival.