China warns it won’t tolerate dissent in Hong Kong… ‘I stopped dancing, I’m fighting now’: Protesters take up self-defense classes…

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Beijing (AFP) – China warned Friday it would not tolerate any challenge to Hong Kong’s governing system, as it laid out plans to boost patriotism in the city and change how its leader is chosen or removed after months of pro-democracy protests.

Beijing also said it would brook no foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs as it discussed the unrest in the semi-autonomous city at a major, four-day meeting of the Communist Party chaired by President Xi Jinping, according to a senior party cadre.

The central government in Beijing has so far voiced its confidence in Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam and the city police to put a lid on the increasingly violent protests.

But all eyes have been on whether the party leadership will assert more control over the situation if the demonstrations spin out of control.

The former British colony has been rocked by months of protests with citizens lampooning the city’s pro-Beijing leaders and erosion of basic rights.

Shen Chunyao, director of the Hong Kong, Macau and Basic Law Commission, said party leaders at the meeting in Beijing agreed to “further improve the central government’s system of governance over the region” and maintain its “long-term prosperity and stability.”

HONG KONG, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Before protests erupted across her Hong Kong hometown five months ago, 31-year-old Pino was a dancer, taking various types of evening classes for years, from jazz to hip-hop and pole.

Now, the slight IT worker, who wanted to be identified only by her first name, is learning to fight.

“I stopped dancing, I’m fighting now,” she said.

Once a week, Pino joins a self-defence class where instructors give lessons on how to fight police, evade arrest, and navigate the unrest on the streets of the Asian financial hub. Lessons sometimes incorporate videos of real protest clashes.

These classes are one of several that have sprung up in recent months, say protesters, pitched at demonstrators and others concerned about getting caught in the chaos.

The rallies have been marred by violence which flares mostly during weekends, with demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails, destroying shops seen as pro-Beijing, vandalising train stations and engaging in running battles with police.


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