China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has accused foreign forces and the international media of fuelling the political crisis in Hong Kong.
In an exclusive interview with AFP in Paris on Monday, the minister described months of pro-democracy unrest in Hong Kong as “violence pure and simple”
He said: “What is happening in Hong Kong today are in no way peaceful protests. It’s violence pure and simple. These are unacceptable acts in any country.”
The minister also accused the protesters of attacking police, members of the public and paralysing transport.
Hong Kong has been riven by seething protests for the past 20 weeks, with violence spiralling on both sides of the ideological divide.
While huge crowds have regularly marched peacefully, clashes have repeatedly broken out between smaller groups of hardcore protesters and riot police.
The hardline protesters have thrown molotov cocktails and bricks at police, as well as vandalised businesses perceived as being pro-China. Police have responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.
With no political solution in sight the clashes have intensified with each passing month.
China has run Hong Kong under a special “one country, two systems” model, which allows the city liberties not seen on the mainland, since the financial hub’s handover from the British in 1997.