Hong Kong protests: Beijing finally realise pro-democracy demonstrators want system changed

After weeks of protest commentary published in well-known state-sponsored newspaper also alleges protests are ultimately violent

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The Independent Online

A commentary published by Chinese state media accused the Hong Kong Occupy movement of agitating for an independent city state after weeks of demonstrations.

Writing in The Communist Daily Ye Himin claimed the protesters’ slogan, ‘Our fate should be decided by us’, revealed the real intentions of the movement.

“What they want is not electoral democracy or the 'high-degree of autonomy' under 'one country [two systems]', rather, they want Hong Kong 'to act on her own', have 'self-determination' and to even be 'independent'," it said.

The denunciation comes as pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets over the weekend, undeterred by clashes with police.

It accused several of the pro-democracy leaders of working with Taiwan’s pro-independence activists in planning the Occupy movement.

Alongside the commentary The Communist Daily also published two further opinion pieces on the demonstrations, one which claimed foreign powers were behind the Umbrella Revolution (as it has been dubbed by supporters) and another which alleged the protest aim was ultimately violent.

Challenging China’s national dignity and interest, it claimed the US and Britain were behind pushing the protest to its current level.

The author’s name was given as ‘Guoping’, which translates roughly as ‘national peace’ or ‘state view’.

In Mong Kok, which has been a focus point of the demonstration and the scene of recent clashes with police, protesters appeared defiant and also angry that the city government was portraying their campaign as increasingly radicalised and violent.

Igloo Novas, a student, told Reuters that Hong Kong leaders must tell Beijing the “truth”, that the majority of Hong Kong people wanted to choose candidates in elections freely. “This is one compromise I can accept from the government,” she said.

The editorial comes as the protest enters the fourth week. The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism began demonstrating outside the government headquarters on 22 September over Beijing’s proposal for electing the city’s next chief executive in 2017.

The plan, set out in August, dictates that all candidates require majority approval from a committee of mostly pro-Beijing members of the city’s elite.

The movement, swollen by ordinary Hongkongers frustrated at Beijing’s refusal to allow free elections, has sparked the biggest challenge to Chinese rule in the territory since it was handed over from Britain in 1997, and the biggest nationally since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.