China media: HK protesters 'defeated'

Government officials walk on the bridge outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption The main protest camp in the business district has been dismantled

Chinese state media reported the "defeat" of the pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong after authorities in the territory cleared the main protest site.

Police began their operation early on Thursday. It passed off peacefully, though more than 200 protesters were arrested. Some activists vowed to continue with other forms of civil disobedience.

The activists want Beijing to allow free elections for the territory's next leader in 2017. China says everyone can vote but a pro-Beijing committee will screen candidates.

"By now, Hong Kong people know better that the 'high level of autonomy' doesn't mean full autonomy," says the China Daily.

It adds that the "defeat" of the movement has "sent a clear message to hostile forces - both local and overseas".

"On matters of principle, the central government will never make any concessions. And in a free and prosperous civil society such as Hong Kong, there is simply no soil for political schemers to advance their agenda," the daily concludes.

Since the start of the protests in September Chinese media have been dismissive of the movement and Beijing has declared the camp sites blocked off three main areas of Hong Kong "illegal".

Meanwhile the Global Times, another state daily, warned of the dangers of "street politics", in an editorial on Hong Kong.

"Street politics can easily ravage a society and are addictive to some members of the public," said the newspaper.

"We firmly oppose the notion that society can be overhauled through street violence. This is a key political principle," the editorial added.

Xinhua news agency published a statement from the Chinese central government saying it supported the decision by the Hong Kong government and police to clear the protest sites.

It added that the protests seriously undermined social order, the economy, democratic progress and the rule of law.

"We have noticed that the clearance operation was well received and welcomed by the residents of Hong Kong," the statement said.

Economic pragmatism

Chinese papers also allayed fears of a financial slowdown next year as authorities outline new economic policies.

China's top leaders and senior officials on Thursday outlined "pragmatic" economic policies and priorities for the next year, stressing "stable growth", official Xinhua News Agency reports.

Fears of a sharper slowdown in the world's second largest economy have heightened after trade data came in well below expectations on Monday.

And finally, papers remind Japan of its "sinful past" as China is slated to hold the first National Memorial Day for Nanjing Massacre Victims on Saturday.

The state memorial ceremony, which will be attended by top Chinese leaders, comes amid a recent thaw in Beijing-Tokyo ties.

Last month, both countries reached a consensus to resume dialogue after strained bilateral ties over rival territorial claims in the East China Sea and disputes about Japan's World War II history.

"The right-wing forces in Japan are still denying their brutal acts… It is not only for the revival of the Chinese race but the pursuit for peace as human beings that we commemorate the Nanjing Massacre, pay tributes to the victims and reveal the sins of the Japanese military," says a People's Daily commentary.

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