HONG KONG, Aug 16 (Reuters) - China has the option to “forcefully intervene” to quell violent protests in Hong Kong, an influential state-controlled tabloid warned in an editorial on Friday, lashing out at what Beijing describes as U.S. interference in Hong Kong.
“Beijing hasn’t decided to forcefully intervene to quell the Hong Kong riots, but this option is clearly at Beijing’s disposal,” the Global Times wrote in the editorial.
“The People’s Armed Police assembling in Shenzhen has sent a clear warning to the Hong Kong rioters,” the newspaper said, referring to exercises that the paramilitary force has been conducting this week in the mainland Chinese city that borders Hong Kong.
“If Hong Kong cannot restore the rule of law on its own and the riots intensify, it’s imperative then for the central government to take direct actions based on the Basic Law.”
Beijing has repeatedly accused the United States of interfering in Hong Kong, and U.S. officials including lawmakers have been stepping up warnings for China not to crack down on the protesters.
The nationalist tabloid, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said the situation in Hong Kong “won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” referring to the bloody military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.
“Washington will not be able to intimidate China by using the turmoil 30 years ago. China is much stronger and more mature, and its ability to manage complex situations has been greatly enhanced,” the Global Times said. (Reporting by Tony Munroe Editing by Mark Heinrich)