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Three critically injured in Hong Kong’s weekend of violence amid calls in China for ‘tougher’ stance

Officials in Hong Kong say three people have been left critically injured during yet another weekend of violent clashes between protesters and police, which prompted calls in mainland China for a “tougher” stance to end months of chaos in the Asian financial hub.

The anti-government protests that hit Hong Kong’s streets for the 22nd consecutive weekend wounded a total of 30 people, out of whom three people were in critical condition and two others in serious condition, according to Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority.

On Sunday, fierce scuffles were reported between police and the protesters, who had occupied number of shopping malls, including Cityplaza in the eastern suburb of Taikoo Shing.

Protesters occupied the City Plaza mall in the Tai Koo Shing area in Hong Kong on November 3, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, a man with a knife attacked several people and bit off part of a politician’s ear. The knife-wielder was wounded as he was beaten by the protesters.

Live footage showed images of the politician having his ear bitten off after trying to subdue the attacker.

Another man is also seen lying unconscious in a growing pool of blood.

A day earlier, protesters vandalized official Chinese Xinhua news agency’s regional bureau in the city. Xinhua denounced the “barbaric” attack on its office.

The semi-autonomous Chinese territory has been rocked by a spate of turbulent street protests since June, when people outraged by a proposed extradition bill descended on the districts across the city. The bill was later withdrawn, but the protests continued and took on an increasingly violent form.

Protesters say by suggesting that proposal, Beijing infringed on the freedoms guaranteed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

The rioters have been vandalizing public property and businesses believed to be supportive of the mainland.

More rallies have been planned for this week to keep up pressure for the administration to meet their demands.

Blood and debris are seen on the ground at the entrance of a shopping mall in Hong Kong on November 3, 2019.(Photo by AFP)

Beijing urged to adopt ‘tougher line’

In an editorial, China Daily newspaper called on Monday for a “tougher” stance against the “wanton” attacks by the “naive” demonstrators, who “are doomed to fail simply because their violence will encounter the full weight of the law.”

“Intensifying violence in Hong Kong calls for tougher line to restore order,” read the daily. “The radical protesters have been trying hard to convince the world they are championing a noble cause in a peaceful manner rather than engaging in wanton violence.”

The daily also said that the protesters “court the indulgence extended to them by friendly local and Western media outlets, while seeking to silence those trying to put the protests in the spotlight of truth.”

The newspaper also noted that the Communist Party of President Xi Jinping plans to strengthen Hong Kong’s legal system to “safeguard national security.”

“Those Hong Kong residents whose lives have been disrupted by the intensifying violence of intimidation — instigated and organized by those hoping to use Hong Kong as a means to destabilize the nation — will be glad when life returns to normal,” the daily said.

After a four-day meeting of Communist Party leaders in the capital Beijing, the government issued a stark message for protesters  on Friday, saying that it would not tolerate any challenges to its authority over Hong Kong. It also laid out plans to boost patriotism in the city and change how its leader is chosen or removed.

Beijing blames the United States and Britain for instigating unrest and violence and exacerbating the situation by backing the unlawful actions of the violent Hong Kong rioters.

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