The Chinese foreign ministry has said foreigners should not distort the Hong Kong government’s effort to uphold public order as being harmful to freedoms. Lu Kang’s comment came following the conviction of leading Umbrella Movement activists at a Hong Kong court on Tuesday.

Nine leading activists of the 2014 pro-democracy movement were found guilty of public nuisance charges, prompting several politicians and civil rights groups from abroad to issue statements condemning the ruling.

lu kang foreign ministry
Lu Kang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson. File Photo: GovCN.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Tuesday afternoon that the verdict rendered in Hong Kong fell within China’s internal affairs.

Lu said the Occupy movement severely impacted the rule of law in Hong Kong, seriously harmed the city’s prosperity and stability and affected the normal lives of Hongkongers.

Chan Kin-man umbrella movement court
Chan Kin-man speaks on the second day of sentencing arguments for the convicted Umbrella Movement activists. Photo: Holmes Chan/HKFP.

“I believe that no matter [if] such situation happens in which[ever] country or region, it is beyond reproach for the government there to make a decision to uphold the normal life order of the people,” Lu said. “The central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR in punishing the main organizers and plotters of the ‘Occupy Central’ movement in accordance with the law.”

“I also want to remind persons in other countries that it makes no sense at all to distort the Hong Kong SAR government’s effort to uphold public order as a harm to the social freedom of the Hong Kong SAR,” he added. “Just take a look at the situation in other countries and regions and you will draw a fair and unbiased conclusion.”

‘Dangerous’ system

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said it was disappointed by the ruling, adding that the protests were a peaceful movement.

”A government using the nation’s power and the legal weapon to breach human rights will not earn respect from the public, and it shows the dangerous nature of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’” it said.

Robert Chow
Robert Chow (centre). Photo: Stand News.

Anti-Occupy activist Robert Chow also held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon with the Alliance for Peace and Democracy.

“Hong Kong has won, the rule of law has won, peace has won, 1.83 million people have won,” he said. He was referring to the number of people the Alliance claimed to have signed a petition against the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

“It was a perfect ending,” he said.

The nine activists are due to be sentenced on April 24.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.