Taipei-Taiwan's top agency for China policy has expressed strong regret over the shooting of an 18-year-old student by police in Hong Kong during protests held there Tuesday, denouncing what it said was an excessive use of force.
In a statement released Tuesday night, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said it regretted the social disturbances and clashes between police and protesters that broke out Tuesday and criticized the "unnecessary and excessive use of police force" in the shooting incident.
It warned that if the Hong Kong government continued to suppress democracy with uncontrolled state violence, it would only create a vicious cycle.
"The repeated use of guns and ammunition without reason to rob people of their freedom will only exacerbate dissension and discord," the statement said.
The council urged Hong Kong's government to listen and respond to the people's demands, as it is the best approach to restoring stability to Hong Kong, and it also called for all sides to remain calm and to act with restraint.
Massive protests have been held in Hong Kong regularly since early June, at first pushing for the withdrawal of an extradition bill that could have subjected anyone in Hong Kong to China's opaque and arbitrary legal system.
The movement has since morphed into calls for closer scrutiny of the police, an end to describing protests as "riots," and genuine universal suffrage.
On Tuesday, the 70th anniversary of communist rule in China, Hong Kong protesters set out to hold a "national grief" march, even though it was barred by police, to oppose what they see as Beijing's growing encroachment in their city.
They held gatherings in multiple districts throughout Hong Kong, culminating in the bloodiest clashes between police and protesters the movement has seen so far, leading to the first shooting of a protester by live ammunition.
Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Lo Wai-chung said at a press conference late Tuesday that police officers fired six shots in different areas to protect their lives when their warnings were ignored, and he insisted they were acting "lawfully and appropriately."
The protester who was shot, confirmed to be a student at Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College, has undergone surgery and is now in stable condition.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel