Hong Kong leader to hold dialogue aimed at easing tensions

Pro-democracy protests have continued in Hong Kong despite a police crackdown including the arrest of several leading activists. AFP

Pro-democracy protests have continued in Hong Kong despite a police crackdown including the arrest of several leading activists. AFP

Signaling this shift, a spokesman for China's government office that oversees Hong Kong affairs, Yang Guang, stressed at a press conference that "many young students are involved in peaceful procession gatherings" in contrast to "a small number of thugs" and "militants" who have committed "horrendous acts".

Joshua Wong, one of the most prominent figures in a generally leaderless movement, told lawmakers that "the stakes have never been higher".

Some protesters have carried placards urging American lawmakers to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would give the USA greater means to defend Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy.

The anti-government protests, sparked by an extradition bill that many Hong Kong residents see as an example of the territory's autonomy being eroded under Chinese rule, have been increasingly marked by violence and clashes with police.

"Sending in the tanks remains irrational, though not impossible", Wong said.

The agency said the ongoing demonstrations could hurt government and policy effectiveness more than it had previously assessed, as well as damage Hong Kong's credit fundamentals. "Hong Kong and USA dollar deposits have remained stable", he said in a statement.

The ministry did not release a breakdown of individual months, but according to calculations by the SCMP based upon the official data, China received $7.53 billion via Hong Kong in August, a rise of 29.2% from the same month a year ago.

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Pointing out that she was speaking as Hong Kong on Monday entered its 100th day of protests, Chan cautioned that "there is no sign that police will exercise restraint".

Wong's appeal for USA support came during testimony at a hearing in Washington before the Congressional Executive Commission on China to review developments in Hong Kong and China's role in the political crisis there.

The treaty ensured that Hong Kong would be ruled under a "one country, two systems" principle, permitting its capitalist system to continue for 50 more years without interference from the socialist system of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

"That deadline is closer to us than it appears; there's no return", Wong said.

The PROTECT Hong Kong Act would prohibit USA exports of police equipment to Hong Kong, including tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and more.

Saying that Chinese people begging for foreign intervention was "ugly", she noted those born in Hong Kong and with Chinese nationality are Chinese citizens.regardless of whether or not they hold British passports.

While discussing the events, some attendees spoke on China's central government and its origins from Confucianism thousands of years ago.

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"We can see what's happening in Hong Kong and we can see even in a society like ours growing divisiveness and I think that's profoundly worrying".

Brawls also broke out between anti-government protesters and others who support Beijing.

"They know that the price would be too huge to pay", Mrs. Lam said on the leaked tape.

China has accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of fomenting the unrest and told them to mind their own business.

Wong was joined by Hong Kong celebrity activist Denise Ho, who warned that an erosion of the city's unique status would embolden China if the US does not put pressure on Beijing and support USA legislation aimed at defending Hong Kongers' civil rights.

'Thank you for your courage and bravery.

"We are really anxious about the situation, because there is obviously an escalation of police brutality", Chan told AFP.

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