The scene collapsed outside the Xinhua office in Hong Kong after the attack on November 2. Photo: SCMP

Xinhua office in Hong Kong as a 'war zone'

The official state news agency Xinhua was likened to a war zone after a petrol bomb attack by protesters.

"The glass on the ground floor were all broken, lots of red paint spilled all over the hall and the smell was burnt. The scene looked like a war zone," said an employee at the office of the Chinese state-run news agency. The Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong on Tuesday said it mentioned the attack on a gasoline bomb the day before by protesters.

This male employee asked to remain anonymous because he was not allowed to talk about the incident. The fire alarm for an office building on Queen East Road, Wan Chan district rang around 2pm on November 2, when dozens of Xinhua employees were at work. "We are very worried because the live broadcast on the television shows our building is under attack. But we did not immediately stop working because we thought it was not serious," he said.

The scene collapsed outside the Xinhua office in Hong Kong after the attack on November 2. Image: SCMP.

However, he immediately changed his mind when he and his colleagues left the building and saw the situation in the hall. "Watching on TV and seeing live is completely different. All the madness right in front of your eyes. The intense smell of burning mixed with the smell of paint in the air makes some of us dizzy," he said. but declined to say how many people were in the building when the attack occurred.

Some people were evacuated as a precaution, but firefighters soon kept the situation under control. Another Xinhua employee was not in the office when the incident occurred but returned to work on November 3, saying the cleanup was taking place, no-one was injured in the attack and the damage was done. Do not interrupt their activities.

"I was very angry when I saw the mess but the only thing we could do was keep working. We had to show them that they couldn't scare us," he said. "Fortunately, no one was injured because the fire was quickly extinguished, but if the firefighter did not act quickly, the lives of many of my colleagues and others living in the building could be in danger."

Despite being a major symbol for mainland Chinese government media, the Xinhua office was avoided targeting in the last 22 weeks of protests in Hong Kong. The Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, condemns the attack with gasoline bombs, describing it as a serious provocation to the core of civilized society and a challenge to public order. .

"Such violent crimes will not be tolerated by any nation in the world. This is not only a deliberate violation of Hong Kong's press guarantee law, but also an attack. public assault on the patriotism of Hong Kong compatriots and must be severely punished according to the law, "the People's Daily editorial on November 3 wrote.

The Hong Kong News Association and the All-China Journalists Association also condemned the attack. The official Xinhua news agency said it felt indignant at the barbaric acts of the crowd, while Hong Kong police continued to investigate the incident.

Protests erupted in Hong Kong in early June to protest the extradition bill that allows criminals to be sent to jurisdictions where the Special Zone has not signed an extradition treaty, including China. Although the special zone government announced its withdrawal, the protesters took to the streets in fear of Hong Kong's freedoms being interfered and demanding other claims. Preliminary figures released by the Hong Kong government in the middle of last week show that the special zone first entered a record recession since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Huyen Le (Follow SCMP)

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