Beijing liaison office figure stirred Yuen Long villagers to chase away protesters

Local | 26 Jul 2019 3:34 pm

A week before suspected triad gang members attacked protesters and commuters at Yuen Long MTR station last Sunday night, an official from China’s representative office urged local residents to drive away any activists, write James Pomfret, Greg Torode, and David Lague of Reuters.

Li Jiyi, the director of the Central Government Liaison Office made the appeal at a community banquet for hundreds of villagers in the New Territories.

In a previously unreported recording from the July 11 event obtained by Reuters, Li addresses the large crowd about the escalating protests. Li chastises the protesters, appealing to the assembled residents to protect their towns in Yuen Long district and to chase anti-government activists away.

“We won’t allow them to come to Yuen Long to cause trouble,” he said, to a burst of applause. “Even though there are a group of protesters trained to throw bricks and iron bars, we still have a group of Yuen Long residents with the persistence and courage to maintain social peace and protect our home.”

Repeatedly, Li spoke of the need for harmony and unity between the traditional villages and the government, “especially when there is wind and rain in Hong Kong.''

The banquet was attended by a Hong Kong government district officer, Enoch Yuen, and many of the rural leaders. Yuen gave no immediate response to Reuters’ questions on Li’s speech and its impact on village representatives.

The Liaison Office did not immediately respond to Reuters questions about Li’s speech, and Li could not be reached for comment.-Photo: RTHK

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