Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged to “fully and faithfully” uphold a “high degree of autonomy” and the “one country, two systems” principle for Hong Kong, which has seen pro-democracy protests for several months, AFP reported. Xi was speaking at an event ahead of the 70th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China.

Xi said China’s approach is to ensure that Hong Kong and Macau, another semi-autonomous region, “prosper and progress alongside the mainland and embrace an even brighter future”. Referring to Taiwan, Xi said, “The complete reunification of the motherland is an inevitable one and no force can ever stop it.”

Taiwan, or the Republic of Taiwan, is a self-governed island that China considers its own.

Protestors and police had clashed over the weekend in Hong Kong, with petrol bombs being thrown once again at police officers and authorities resorting to tear gas and water cannon. An appeals board rejected a civil society group’s bid to hold a demonstration in Hong Kong on National Day on Tuesday, after police said it would threaten public safety and order, the South China Morning Post reported.

The group’s convenor Jimmu Sham Tsz-kit said it had no choice but to cancel the demonstration, calling it “a heartbreaking reality”. “From 1997 to now, in a short time of 20-odd years, Hong Kong has reached a state where we can’t hold demonstrations,” Jimmy Sham said. “We’re becoming more and more like Beijing.”

Meanwhile, police said that they expect protests on Tuesday to be “very, very dangerous”, according to Channel NewsAsia. “Core rioters are increasing their violence,” Superintendent John Tse said. “The depth and breadth of their violence and plans show that they are increasingly resorting to terrorism.”

Protestors accuse China of tightening its grip on the region and throttling democracy.

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