China issued a firm warning to Hong Kong demonstrators on Tuesday saying that "those who play with fire will go up in flames." Since the start of the protests, Beijing has not pronounced as fiercely as it is now.
"The protesters should not underestimate the determination of the central government," said the Hong Kong Office spokesperson at a press conference in Beijing, one day after the general strike. "Hong Kong is on the verge of a very dangerous situation because of the radical demonstrations."
The strike led to a disruption of public order. Hundreds of flights were canceled, police stations were surrounded and roads were blocked. The police used tear gas against the demonstrators.
For more than two months, action has been taken against the controversial law that makes extradition to China possible. The law has been repealed indefinitely, but in the meantime the protesters are demanding the resignation of leader Carrie Lam, political reforms and independent investigation into alleged police violence.
China again emphasized on Tuesday that they support Lam and the Hong Kong police. "The attempts to let Lam resign will not lead to anything," the spokesman said.
Lam expressed fierce criticism of the protests on Monday and spoke of an "extremely dangerous situation".
68Hong Kong protesters harass police station
Thousands of Chinese agents are exercising at the Hong Kong border
On Tuesday morning, China held a major police campaign in the city of Shenzhen, some 30 kilometers from the Hong Kong border. More than twelve thousand police officers were involved in the exercise.
The English-language newspaper South China Morning Post reports that the riots in Hong Kong were simulated during the campaign. The agents acted hard against actors who wore black shirts. According to the police, the action was a preparation for the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic, which will be celebrated on October 1.
The Chinese army, the People's Liberation Army, has standard troops stationed in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government can ask the military for help in the event of natural disasters or for the protection of public order. However, during the press conference, the Chinese government spokesperson said that Beijing is convinced that the Hong Kong police are capable of putting an end to the unrest.
See also: This is what we know about the unrest in Hong Kong