BEIJING, Oct. 3 -- Democracy and the rule of law are interdependent, and a democracy without the rule of law will only bring havoc, says a commentary to be carried by Saturday's People's Daily.
In recent days, protests have been staged in Hong Kong in the name of seeking "real universal suffrage," causing traffic jams, less tourists, the stock market plunging and the suspension of schools and stores.
"All these chaotic scenes have caused worries and irritation among Hong Kong citizens," says the commentary on the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
According to the article, the so-called "Occupy Central" protests are aiming to realize political intentions that violate Hong Kong's Basic Law through unlawful means, and however the organizers and instigators labeled such acts as "peaceful" or "nonviolent," they cannot change the illegal nature of the protests.
"These acts will undoubtedly end up with the rule of law violated, severely disrupted social orders, huge economic losses and possible casualties," says the opinion piece.
The protests attempt to force the central authorities to change the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Hong Kong's electoral system. The decision made on Aug. 31 granted universal suffrage in the selection of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)'s chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee.
Noting that one essence of the rule of law is absolute abidance by the law and the punishments on violators, the article says nobody is able to disregard the law or take exception to it. "Young students should also abide by the law."
It also says that the measures of Hong Kong police to cope with the protests are necessary to ensure the rule of law, and they only used teargas when left without choices against protesters who bumped police defences and even poked police with umbrella.
"Hong Kong police are very professional, and the actions they took were necessary, appropriate and moderate. There are no reasons to criticize their law enforcement acts," it says. "A democratic society should respect the opinions of the minorities, but it doesn't mean those minorities have the right to resort to illegal means.
"Democracy can only be prosperous and the rule of law developed when we express opinions and seek consensus under the framework of law," the article says, urging protesters to return to reason and the rule of law as the common responsibilities of all Hong Kong residents who truly love Hong Kong.