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China Focus: Central government supports Hong Kong government in clearing Occupy sites

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- China's central government on Friday said it supports the Hong Kong government and police's decision to clear the Occupy protest sites and roads.

The central government "fully agrees with and firmly supports" the Hong Kong government and police's decision to stop these illegal activities, thereby maintaining social order and safeguarding the rule of law, said a statement from the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.

Hong Kong authorities cleared Occupy sites in Admiralty on Thursday, and traffic in front of the government headquarters was moving again before midnight.

Protestors in the Occupy Central movement had erected a traffic blockade in downtown Hong Kong, seriously undermining Hong Kong's social order, economy, democratic progress and rule of law, the statement said.

"We have noticed that the clearance operation was well received and welcomed by the residents of Hong Kong," the statement said.

The statement reiterated that the central government will continue implementing the "one country, two systems" policy and the Basic Law as well as supporting Hong Kong's democratic progress in accordance with law.

"We hope that Hong Kong's society will engage in rational and pragmatic discussions and build consensus about its political development within the boundaries of the Basic Law and decisions adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (China's top legislature)," it said.

The central government expects Hong Kong to continue following the "five-step" process to realize universal suffrage in the election of the region's next chief executive in 2017.

Since its start on Sept. 28, the Occupy protest has resulted in serious traffic disruption, fewer tourists, temporary school and bank closures, and a slump in local stock market trading. There has also been a series of clashes between protesters and police.

The Occupy protest has not won the favor of the Hong Kong people, the statement continued.

It urged Hong Kong society to "learn from this experience" and think calmly about the future of Hong Kong.

The people of Hong Kong should better understand and implement the "one country, two systems" principles, it said.

The Hong Kong society should always make it a fundamental principle to safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and development and maintain long-term stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, the statement said.

The region should seize the opportunities presented by the nation's reform and economic development, maintain and give play to Hong Kong's unique advantages to advance economic development, people's lives, democracy and social harmony in the region, the statement said.

Thursday's clearance met little resistance, and many protesters left the Occupy sites peacefully. But there were protesters who ignored the police's appeal. About 200 were arrested during the operation.

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