Chinese state media downplay pro-democracy win in Hong Kong

State-controlled media in mainland China have downplayed the victory of the pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong’s district election on Sunday, focusing instead on how “patriotic” candidates were targeted and on the need to end violence in the city.

In Beijing, the vice foreign minister Zheng Zeguang summoned US ambassador Terry Branstad on Monday following the landslide victory for the pan-democrats to lodge China’s protest against Washington passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.

“It (the bill) is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China strongly condemns and firmly opposes it,” Zheng told Branstad, according to a ministry statement.

“Any attempts to put Hong Kong in chaos and destroy Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity are doomed to fail,” Zheng said.

Chinese state media, meanwhile, focussed on how the months of protest in Hong Kong had destabilised the city.

“During the past more than five months, rioters conspired with foreign forces and escalated violent acts, which resulted in political antagonism, social splits, and setbacks in the economy,” official news agency, Xinhua said in a commentary published Tuesday.

“The election also fell victim. Campaigns of some patriotic candidates were seriously disrupted, and their offices were trashed and set ablaze. One candidate was injured in an attack. Harassment on patriotic candidates occurred on the voting day,” it said.

The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) People’s Daily’s English website said “social unrest… has seriously disrupted the electoral process”.

An editorial in the English language newspaper China Daily said the polls were “skewed by intimidation” and “dirty tricks”.

The editorial said “violent intimidation tactics were intended to reduce the exposure and visibility of pro-establishment candidates”.

The nationalistic tabloid Global Times ran a front-page article saying the election had sparked “reflection” but warned it was “highly politicised amid ongoing social unrest”.

There was “no need to over-interpret the victory of pan-democrats,” it quoted experts as saying.

The Global Times, however, did mention that the pan-democrats had “scored a big win”.

According to agency reports, the flagship Chinese news programme Xinwen Lianbo on the national broadcaster, China Central Television did not mention the Hong Kong elections on Monday.

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