China media: Hong Kong protest

Thousands of students are protesting against Beijing's Hong Kong policies Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of students are protesting against Beijing's Hong Kong policies

Papers give prominent coverage to President Xi Jinping's statement that Beijing's policy "will not change" in Hong Kong.

Mr Xi on Monday met Hong Kong's influential business leaders in Beijing, state-run Xinhua News Agency reports.

In the meeting, Mr Xi stressed that the "basic principle and policy" of "one country, two systems" towards Hong Kong "has not changed and will not change".

The meeting comes three weeks after the central government ruled out open nomination of candidates for the Hong Kong chief executive election in 2017.

The move sparked anger among pro-democracy groups and activists who accuse Beijing of breaking its promise to allow Hong Kong to choose its leader directly.

Thousands of Hong Kong students started a week-long boycott of classes on Monday to protest against the recent decision.

But most of China's state-run media outlets have not commented directly on the student-led protests.

Ignoring the protests, the China Daily highlights Mr Xi's assurance of stability in Hong Kong.

Wang Zhenmin, the dean of the School of Law at Tsinghua University, tells the paper that Mr Xi's remarks aim to reassure Hong Kong people about Beijing's policies, "especially the businessmen and investors who have great influence on the city's prosperity and stability".

"The communication between Beijing and the Hong Kong business sector is now very necessary… Hong Kong businessmen are eager to know more about the central government's policies as they have some concern about uncertainties over the election," the expert says.

Experts interviewed by the Beijing News point out that Mr Xi's speech was "directed at all sectors in Hong Kong", and the "authority and the legality of the decision cannot be challenged or questioned".

"Mr Xi's speech has sent out an authoritative signal in a formal occasion that the central government's policy on Hong Kong has never changed," says Qiang Shigong, a Hong Kong affairs expert at Beijing University.

Reiterating Mr Xi's remarks, the China Daily's editorial reminds readers that the central government is "advancing democracy in the SAR (Special Administrative Region)" by allowing voters in Hong Kong to cast ballots for the chief executive, even if the choice of candidates is not open.

"This is in stark contrast with the fact that all 28 British governors who ruled Hong Kong prior to 1997 were brought from London without an ounce of democratic input from the people of Hong Kong," it says.

Briefly noting that some students took to the streets on Monday, an article in the Global Times suggests the activists "take on practical causes" to help Hong Kong's economy.

"The problem is that all of this benefits nobody, whether it be the activists, the public, or relations with the mainland, and will accomplish nothing good for Hong Kong," it says.

'Direct challenge'

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, reaction to the demonstration has been mixed.

"The general public can understand the reason for the boycott, but foresee that the movement cannot achieve any concrete result. The students should think carefully about the path after the protest. It will be difficult to gain support from the Hong Kongers, if the students are only doing it emotionally and creating bigger-scale confrontations," warns the Hong Kong Economic Times.

According to the Sky Post, several experts and business leaders have voiced their disapproval of the boycott, saying that the protest will "create chaos but will not change the mind of the central government".

Echoing similar views, a commentary in the South China Morning Post points out that Beijing will not compromise as it is "beyond losing face"

"The struggle for democracy in Hong Kong has become a direct challenge to the authority of the central government. That sets us on a collision course where it's hard to see a happy outcome," says the article.

However, a commentary in the Ming Pao daily gives full support to the students, describing them as the "hope of Hong Kong".

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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