Central government anticipates city seizing a 'historic opportunity'
President Xi Jinping on Sunday voiced support for Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his government's efforts to safeguard the rule of law and maintain social order in Hong Kong.
Xi made the remarks while meeting with Leung, who is in Beijing to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
The recognition came as unlawful occupation of thoroughfares at three locations in Hong Kong entered the sixth week with no sign of ending. Leung, in a briefing to the president, called those protests "an assault of the rule of law".
The central government "fully affirms and supports" the efforts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region chief executive and the HKSAR government to govern in line with the law, especially its work to maintain social order, Xi said.
During the open-door session, the president said China has adopted a key blueprint to comprehensively advance the rule of law, including the legal implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy.
The rule of law is a key foundation for Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity, Xi said, adding it is key for Hong Kong to accurately understand the "One Country, Two Systems" principles and the Basic Law.
Xi said the central government anticipates the Hong Kong community will seize a historic opportunity and write a new chapter of democracy by working out universal suffrage in line with the law, while maintaining a peaceful and stable society for its residents.
The president also said authorities on the mainland will soon reveal a launch date for the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect despite concerns that the protests will hinder the measure.
Leung, speaking to the media after the meeting, said the president offered support for Hong Kong police.
In light of the strong backing, he reaffirmed confidence in handling the protests through Hong Kong's local law enforcement efforts.
Leung reiterated that one of the student activists' demands-nominating chief executive candidates by petition-had been deemed unconstitutional.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students has said that it wants to talk to the country's leaders, but Hong Kong's top legislator, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, said on Sunday that the talks would be useless if the students insist on impracticable demands.
The top adviser to the city government, Lam Woon-kwong, also advised students on the streets that the only dignified option left is to voluntarily abandon the occupation and return to their campuses.
On Friday, a man was arrested for inciting others to attend an illegal assembly on a social networking site. Another man was arrested on Saturday for possession of about 200 steel straps.
On Saturday evening, the pedestrian access to the government headquarters at Admiralty was briefly obstructed by a few dozen masked activists.
The barricade was promptly torn down by police officers and the group abandoned its attempt before midnight.
Xinhua contributed to this story.