China Warns Hong Kong Protesters It Will Crush Any Independence Movement After Demonstrators Appeal to U.S. for Support

Chinese state media has issued a chilling warning to Hong Kong protesters following a mass demonstration outside the territory's U.S. consulate, at which demonstrators urged President Donald Trump and Congress to provide more support for the ongoing anti-government protests.

Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers swamped the area around the consulate on Sunday, with many bearing American flags and placards calling for the Trump administration to intervene and assist the anti-China protesters.

Congress is returning to the Hill this week, and among lawmakers' legislative priorities is the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. The bill would allow the U.S. to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials seen to be undermining the autonomy of the territory.

But on Monday, Chinese state media carried Beijing's uncompromising response, Communist Party-aligned newspapers warning that any hint of subversion or secessionism would be "crushed."

An opinion article in the Global Times—often used to express the more nationalistic and belligerent sentiment within the Communist Party—said the demonstrations were being driven by extremists undergoing a "fit of hysteria, announcing that should their demands not be met, they would rather destroy everything."

"If the U.S. passes the bill to interfere in Hong Kong's internal affairs, it would not be for the sake of the city, but rather to turn the financial hub into a card Washington can use to increase pressure on Beijing," the article claimed. "The U.S. will only decide its policy toward Hong Kong based on American interests."

China and its media outlets have blamed the unrest in Hong Kong on intervention by Western powers, seeking to discredit the anti-government protests and rally support for the party on the mainland. Global Times said passing the bill would represent a "deep intervention" in its affairs.

"If the situation in Hong Kong gets out of control, leading to subversive disorder and humanitarian disaster among society, Beijing will definitely take action in accordance with the Basic Law," it added, without specifying what shape this might take.

The China Daily meanwhile published an editorial warning protesters "to return to their senses and stop trying the patience of the central government." It also condemned the activists for "seeking U.S. help to achieve their nefarious goal of 'Hong Kong independence'."

"The demonstrations in Hong Kong are not about rights or democracy," it declared. "They are a result of foreign interference. Lest the central government's restraint be misconstrued as weakness, let it be clear secessionism in any form will be crushed."

Official state news agency Xinhua said the protesters were "selfishly" continuing the unrest and called on other Hong Kongers to drop their support for the movement, The South China Morning Post reported.

"Astonishingly, there are still people in Hong Kong society who are exceptionally tolerant towards violence and refuse to cut ties with the violent protesters," it said.

"In reality, this kind of mentality fueled the aggressiveness of those mobs, and gave them a false feeling that the whole society would support or accept their so-called 'resistance' and continue to live in a self-beautifying illusion," Xinhua continued.

"For the silent majority who love Hong Kong, it's time to stand up and loudly say no to this violence," it concluded.

US, China, independence, crush, Hong Kong
Protesters fly U.S flags as they deliver a petition to the U.S consulate during a demonstration on September 8 in Hong Kong, China. Carl Court/Getty Images/Getty