Beijing: HK's 'anti-mask law' is necessary for restoring social order
Updated 22:21, 06-Oct-2019

Beijing has supported Hong Kong's new anti-mask law, which came into force on Saturday, calling it necessary for combating and ending violent criminal acts and restoring social order.

Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks hours after Chief Executive Carrie Lam's announcement of invoking emergency law to ban people from wearing masks during public assemblies.

This is the latest move to "create a deterrent effect against masked, violent protesters and rioters," Lam said at the press conference.


"In the past four months, almost all protesters who carry out vandalism and violence had their faces covered. And the purpose was to hide their identity and evade the law, and they have become more and more daring," Lam said at the press conference, adding that over 1,100 people were injured during more than 400 protests. 

Lam asserted that the ban was a "necessary decision," but denied that Hong Kong is in a state of emergency.


Beijing: This has turned HK into a version of 'color revolution' under foreign forces

The Beijing spokesperson first denounced the violent scenes on Tuesday, China's National Day, where some anti-government forces and radical protesters have created unrest, including setting fires in many places, throwing petrol bombs at subway stations, assaulting innocent residents and police officers with corrosive liquid.

The escalating Hong Kong issue has clearly showed that the unrest started by the amendments to a fugitive bill has turned into a Hong Kong-version "color revolution" under the interference of some foreign forces, Yang said, adding that many street protests have evolved into fully prepared and highly organized crimes.

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This has greatly threatened public safety, he said. "And that's why it is appropriate and very necessary for the HKSAR government to make the Prohibition of Face Covering Regulation."

Beijing: We trust in the HK govt

Yang also delivered the central government's complete trust to the HKSAR, saying that the SAR government has the ability to preserve the rule of law in Hong Kong, protect Hong Kong residents from the threat of violent acts and restore social order.

Beijing also reiterated its firm adherence to the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

An official in charge of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR also voiced support to the HKSAR government on Friday.

The central government will never change or waver in its adherence to the principle of "One Country, Two Systems," said the official, noting that any act challenging the bottom line of the principle must be punished in accordance with the law.

The official also called on the whole society to firmly support the HKSAR government and the Hong Kong police force to take all necessary measures in accordance with the law to maintain social stability in the region.

A principal official of the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong also expressed firm support on Friday, saying the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation is completely legitimate and reasonable, and conforms with the common practices in many other regions and countries in the world. 

The official, in a press release, said that the extremists in Hong Kong have ramped up violence recently. 

HKSAR govt hopes to see 'deterrent effect' against violent acts

The decision to invoke the law under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance was made after meeting with the city's cabinet. The government believes such regulation will have a "deterrent effect" against violent behaviors, and will also help police carry out their duties.

Entitled the "anti-mask law," the ban – once in effect – could entail a jail term of up to one year or a fine of 25,000 Hong Kong dollars.

Carrie Lam (M), chief executive of the HKSAR, at the press conference, October 4, 2019. /Photo by CGTN's Xu Xinchen

Carrie Lam (M), chief executive of the HKSAR, at the press conference, October 4, 2019. /Photo by CGTN's Xu Xinchen

People who have to wear a mask for special needs, including for medical, health, and religious reasons, will be applicable to exemption clauses, according to the government gazette.

HKSAR is not the first to make such legislation

The move added Hong Kong to the list of countries and regions, including France, Canada, and the United States, with 15 states implementing such a law.

In Canada, those breaking the anti-mask law during a riot or unlawful assembly face up to 10 years in prison; while in France, face-covering headgears like masks, helmets, and balaclavas are strictly prohibited in public places. Violators face one year behind bars and up to 15,000 euros in fines.

Click here for more on "anti-mask law" around the world

Hong Kong radical protesters set up barriers outside the airport in Hong Kong, China, September 1, 2019. /Reuters Photo

Hong Kong radical protesters set up barriers outside the airport in Hong Kong, China, September 1, 2019. /Reuters Photo

China's HKSAR has been plagued by unrest for more than three months as radical protesters, often black-clad and masked, set fires on the streets, vandalized public facilities, including metro stations, and assaulted police, civilians, and businesses.

Experts say the "anti-mask law" could assist police in attempting to identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts, so as to deter lawful protests from turning into riots. The law could also give police an added tool to protect themselves from being attacked without rioters being punished.

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