by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 03, 2014
The official mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist party said Friday that authorities will not make concessions to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and that their cause is "doomed to fail".
Students whose peaceful protests have paralysed parts of the global financial hub have agreed to hold talks with the government while vowing to continue their occupation, as the city's under-fire leader refused to stand down.
But the protesters' demands for unfettered elections are "neither legal nor reasonable", said the People's Daily newspaper, in a defiant front page editorial.
China's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress ruled in August that candidates for Hong Kong elections would be selected by a committee, a move slammed by protesters as "fake democracy".
The People's Daily said that: "Upholding the decision of the standing committee of the National People's Congress is the necessary decision, and the only decision."
The protests are "against legal principles, and doomed to fail", it said, adding: "There is no room to make concessions on important principles."
Analysts say that Beijing is wary of granting protesters' demands, as it fears that backing down in the face of demonstrations could create a precedent for public protest which would be unacceptable to the Communist leadership.
China's official military newspaper, the People's Liberation Army Daily, reported on its front page that more than 1000 troops in Hong Kong had received "political training," stressing loyalty to the Communist party.
The training aimed to "make the voice of the party the strongest voice in the barracks, and ensure absolute loyalty from the troops," it said.
Beijing stations soldiers in Hong Kong but local politicians have so far ruled out military intervention.
Huge crowds have shut down central areas of the Chinese city with mass sit-ins all week and had set a midnight Thursday deadline for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to quit and for Beijing to guarantee the former British colony full democracy.
With his office besieged by thousands of protesters and tensions with police high, a defiant Leung appeared minutes before midnight rejecting calls to go, but offered talks to one prominent student group in a bid to break the impasse.
The chief executive said he would appoint Chief Administration Secretary Carrie Lam to lead talks with the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), one of several groups behind the demonstrations in the financial hub.
In a statement released early Friday, HKFS said they would meet Lam but renewed calls for Leung's resignation, vowing to continue their occupation if their demands were not met.
Singapore questions foreigners over Hong Kong vigil
"Police confirm that several foreigners are currently assisting with investigations into offences under the Public Order Act," the Singapore Police Force said in an email response to an AFP query Thursday.
"No arrests have been made," the statement said, without giving further details on the number being investigated or their nationalities.
The candlelit vigil drew more than 100 people Wednesday night at the downtown Speakers' Corner, Singapore's sole free-speech zone where protests are allowed.
Only Singapore citizens and permanent residents are allowed to take part in protests in the area without police permits.
"While foreigners are allowed to work or live here, they have to abide by our laws," police said.
"They should not import their domestic issues from their countries into Singapore and conduct activities which can disturb public order."
The hour-long vigil saw participants set up a mini-shrine for a poster of the "Goddess of Democracy" once displayed in Tiananmen Square.
Some in the crowd chanted Cantonese slogans in support of the Hong Kong demonstrators, and organisers gave short speeches voicing solidarity with the protesters who are demanding free elections in the semi-autonomous city.
Singapore, ruled by the same party for more than five decades and famous for strict social controls, in May last year issued a stern warning to foreigners on its shores to abide by its laws and avoid participating in illegal protests.
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