The Latest Envoy to UK China has power to quell protests

HONG KONG — The Latest on protests in Hong Kong (all times local):6 p.m.China’s ambassador to the U.K. says the Beijing government will not “sit on its hands” if the situation in Hong Kong deteriorates.Liu Xiaoming told reporters at a news conference in London on Thursday that extremists masquerading as democracy protesters are dragging Hong Kong “down a dangerous road.”He said if unrest becomes “uncontrollable . the central government would not sit on its hands and watch.”“We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of the Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” he said.He added: “We hope this will end in an orderly way. In the meantime we are fully prepared for the worst.”Protests that began in early June have paralyzed parts of the territory, including its international airport, and led to hundreds of arrests.___1 p.m.A top opposition leader imprisoned on public disorder charges has been released on bail as Hong Kong’s government attempts to quell a protest movement that has paralyzed parts of the territory, including its international airport, and led to hundreds of arrests.Benny Tai was sentenced to 16 months in April in the trial of nine leaders of a 2014 drive for universal suffrage known as the Umbrella Movement. He was allowed to return home Thursday on $12,755 bail but was barred from leaving Hong Kong and will have his appeal heard in late February, according to the court.The 2014 movement fizzled, its demands ignored by Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed administration and its leaders arrested. However, it laid the groundwork for the new protest movement that began in June with mass opposition to extradition legislation but has since encompassed more sweeping democratic demands.The Associated Press

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