China has condemned the recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong as “horrendous incidents” that have caused “serious damage to the rule of law”.
A spokeswoman for China’s top policy office on Hong Kong insisted that the territory’s “top priority” was to “restore social order”.
The comments marked a rare intervention by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office [HKMAO].
The city has seen eight consecutive weekends of anti-government protests.
There were violent clashes on Sunday as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. Barricades were also erected at several different locations in the city.
Although authorities in Beijing have condemned the protests and reiterated their support for Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam on several occasions, Monday’s intervention is widely seen as conveying the official views of China’s top leadership on the civil unrest for the first time.