China warned Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters Tuesday that "those who play with fire will perish by it", a day after the most widespread unrest of the two-month crisis.
In its harshest warning yet, Beijing said the immense strength of the central government should not be underestimated, while police in the semi-autonomous city announced they had arrested almost 150 people in connection with Monday's violence.
The global financial center has been plunged into chaos by weeks of protests triggered by opposition to a planned law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The protests have since evolved into a wider movement for democratic reform and the protection of freedoms.
At a press briefing in Beijing, Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said the "radical protests... have severely impacted Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, pushing it into a dangerous abyss".
In Beijing, the press conference held by China's cabinet-level State Council was the second about the unrest in as many weeks, highlighting concern in the capital.
The clashes have piled pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping, and led to speculation that Beijing might be forced to intervene in some capacity, even militarily.
China stepped up the trade war rhetoric on Tuesday, accusing the US of “deliberately destroying international order” with “unilateralism and protectionism”.
A day after Washington branded China a currency manipulator in a rapidly escalating trade dispute, China’s central bank said it “deeply regretted” the move by the US and said such behaviour “seriously undermined international rules” and damaged the g..