Hong Kong dismisses concessions as protests escalate

Hong Kong dismisses concessions as protests escalate
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Hong Kong’s beleaguered leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday dismissed the prospect of making concessions to pro-democracy protesters as violence escalates. 

“I have said on many occasions that violence will not give us the solution. Violence would only breed more violence,” Lam said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

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“For concessions to be made simply because of escalating violence will only make the situation worse," she added. "On the other hand, we should consider every means to end the violence.”

Hong Kong has faced months of unrest as protesters demand a litany of measures, including universal suffrage and an independent investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by police in dealing with protesters. Massive marches have rocked the city, with police at times responding with tear gas, petrol bombs and live rounds.

The protests, which began with demonstrations against a bill that would have allowed some Hong Kong residents to be extradited to the Chinese mainland, have grown violent. They expanded after the bill was suspended and declared "dead" by Lam to include several other demands as concerns grew that Beijing was looking to tighten its control over the semi-autonomous territory. 

China has accused the U.S. and other Western countries of stirring up the protests, saying it has not expanded its reach in Hong Kong. 

Increased scrutiny has arisen over the protests, which have grown more violent in recent days. Protesters and police clashed over the weekend, with activists throwing 20 petrol bombs at one police station. Another explosive device was detonated remotely to target a passing police car and an officer had his neck slashed by a protester, according to Reuters. 

Lam said police have arrested more than 2,300 people since the demonstrations began in June, including scores of teenagers.

Hong Kong’s response to the protests has sparked particularly harsh criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill, with Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Senators demand info on tech firms' efforts to curb content depicting child exploitation MORE (R-Mo.) accusing it of morphing into a “police state." 

“The Hong Kong police force is a highly professional and civilized force,” Lam responded. “I would challenge every politician to ask themselves if the large extent of violence acts and all those petrol bombs and arson and really deadly attacks on policeman happened in their own country, what would they do?”