GENEVA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong will lose everything if violence destroys its hard-won rule of law, an expert has said.
Wang Zhenmin, director of the Center for Hong Kong and Macao Studies at China's Tsinghua University, said the situation in Hong Kong is "extremely critical" and "very worrying."
Wang, who is attending the 42nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council here, told Xinhua that what the people of Hong Kong desire is to stop violence and restore stability.
The expert said the recent large-scale violence in Hong Kong has caused great difficulties for police to enforce the law, crime has become commonplace, and the rule of law has encountered enormous challenges and suffered great damage.
"This is a huge loss for all Hong Kong people and the country as a whole," he said.
As for the allegation that the chaos was caused by excessive use of force by the Hong Kong police, Wang said this argument totally "confounds black with white."
For months, he said, masked radical protesters have launched attacks, forcing the police to take countermeasures to protect innocent people and public property.
He said that the police have been exercising restraint and acted professionally, using minimum force and doing their utmost to answer the call of duty, and maintain basic order and the rule of law.
Wang, who has studied and worked in Hong Kong and long been engaged in the study of the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), said there is no denial that Hong Kong has witnessed notable improvements in rights and freedoms since its return to China.
"An undeniable fact is that since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, the rights enjoyed by the Hong Kong people have increased substantially. It is under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR that Hong Kong residents have truly enjoyed a wider range of rights and freedoms than any time in history," he noted.
The current problem, he said, is not that the Hong Kong people do not have freedoms, and not that the Hong Kong government does not allow its people to exercise their rights, but rather that human rights and freedoms have been very seriously distorted and abused.
The radical protesters simply do not allow others to express different opinions, and a person may be badly beaten merely because he or she has uttered patriotic or pro-police words, he explained.
It is China that cherishes Hong Kong the most and hopes that Hong Kong remain prosperous and stable and its residents live and work in peace, Wang said.
No other country hopes more than China does that the "one country, two systems" principle will be practiced in a steady and sustained way, he stressed.
That is because it accords not only with Hong Kong's local interests, but also with China's national interests and the interests of every country that has interests in Hong Kong, he said.