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The Latest: Trump: China’s leader acting ‘very responsibly’

July 22, 2019
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An egg thrown by a protester hits the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Sunday, July 21, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong pressed on Sunday past the designated end point for a march in which tens of thousands repeated demands for direct elections in the Chinese territory and an independent investigation into police tactics used in previous demonstrations. (AP Photo/Bobby Yip)
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An egg thrown by a protester hits the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong on Sunday, July 21, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong pressed on Sunday past the designated end point for a march in which tens of thousands repeated demands for direct elections in the Chinese territory and an independent investigation into police tactics used in previous demonstrations. (AP Photo/Bobby Yip)

HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on protests in Hong Kong (all times local):

2:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he thinks China’s Xi Jinping has acted “very responsibly” in allowing extended protests to play out in Hong Kong.

Trump was asked Monday about China’s handling of the protests and said that “China could stop them if they wanted.”

He added that “I think President Xi has acted responsibly, very responsibly.” Trump remarked on the huge size of the protests, saying it looked like 2 million people.

He continued: “I hope that President Xi will do the right thing. But it has been going on a long time.”

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6:55 p.m.

China’s Foreign Ministry says the behavior of “some radical demonstrators” in Hong Kong “touched the bottom line of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and must not be tolerated.”

More than 100,000 people marched in Hong Kong on Sunday to call for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality. After the march ended, a group of demonstrators threw eggs and black ink at the Liaison Office building, which bears the Chinese national emblem.

At a regular news briefing Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang condemned the protesters’ defacement of the office, which represents China’s Communist Party-led central government in Hong Kong.

Geng also warned people in Taiwan against “making irresponsible remarks on hotpot issues, such as Hong Kong affairs, just to make their existence known.”

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4:45 p.m.

A Chinese army brigade says it has held an anti-terrorism exercise in a city not far from Hong Kong.

A social media post Monday by the 74th Army Group did not refer to ongoing protests in Hong Kong, but military commentator and retired officer Yue Gang said the exercises show that troops would be dispatched to the semi-autonomous territory if needed.

An attack by protesters on China’s office in Hong Kong on Sunday has fueled fears that the People’s Liberation Army may intervene. Protesters threw eggs at the office and splattered black ink on the national emblem, eliciting angry responses from China.

The state-owned Global Times newspaper said the exercise in Guangdong province’s Zhanjiang city simulated a response to an outbreak of violence and terrorism.

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4:45 p.m.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says allegations that police colluded with masked assailants who attacked residents in a subway station over the weekend are “unfounded.”

The attackers beat people in the Yuen Long subway station Sunday night using steel pipes and wooden poles. They appeared to target protesters dressed in black who had participated in a massive pro-democracy march earlier Sunday.

At a news briefing Monday, Lam also condemned protesters who defaced the Chinese national emblem on Hong Kong’s Liaison Office, which represents China’s Communist Party-led central government.

Lam said the act “openly challenged the country’s sovereignty” and defended her choice to address it before she mentioned the subway attack.

She said throwing eggs and black paint on the emblem “hurt the nation’s feelings.”

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12:15 p.m.

China has harshly criticized a demonstration in which eggs were thrown at its office in Hong Kong and messages spray-painted on the exterior walls.

The official People’s Daily newspaper said Monday in a front-page commentary that the protesters’ actions were “intolerable.”

The article headlined “Central Authority Cannot be Challenged” expanded on a strong condemnation issued the previous night by the government’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office.

One group of protesters targeted China’s liaison office in Hong Kong on Sunday night after more than 100,000 people marched through the city to demand democracy and an investigation into the use of force by police to disperse crowds at earlier protests.

Demonstrators fear an erosion of rights and freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

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