The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council said on Sunday that the central government supports the Hong Kong police and judicial system, and trusts they will act decisively to deal with "extremists" in the city who have desecrated the national flag. Those acts are criminal violations that call for severe punishment by law, it said in a statement.
The unrest is Hong Kong is growing, with fresh violence at the weekend amid four days of planned rallies. Police used tear gas in parts of the Kowloon district on Saturday night to try to disperse crowds and re-open blocked roads. The Hong Kong government said the protests go “way beyond the boundary of freedom of expression in a civilized society,” while noting that some protesters were suspected to have deliberately damaged the national flag.
The flag is a symbol of the country, so the act was a public trampling on the country’s dignity and an insult to all Chinese nationals, including Hong Kong residents, Xinhua said. Maintaining the dignity of the flag is to safeguard the dignity of the country, the nation and the entire Chinese people, it said.
— With assistance by Winnie Zhu, and Qi Ding
(Adds Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office statement in third paragraph.)