Hong Kong's deeply unpopular leader vowed Monday to "listen humbly" to voters after the pro-democracy camp scored a crushing victory in community-level elections that revealed broad public support for a protest movement that has stirred months of violence.
After months of clashes, the police have become the enemy for numerous protesters, and one of their main demands is for an independent investigation into the use of force to suppress the demonstrations.
Earlier on Monday, Wang told reporters in Tokyo: "Any attempts to undermine the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong will end in failure".
"Any attempts to destroy Hong Kong or harm Hong Kong's stability and development can not possibly succeed", he said.
Before Sunday's election, pro-Beijing parties held three-quarters of the district council seats, but pro-democracy groups have so far managed to capture 240 of them, up from the 124 they held previously.
Preliminary results of the election reported by local broadcaster RTHK suggest that about 390 seats out of 452 that were up for grabs in 18 district councils have been claimed by the anti-government candidates. The person who defeated her, Lester Shum, an active participant in the last six months' pro-democracy protest, said in response, "The government must respond to our five demands as soon as possible".
The black-clad protesters believed they still had public support - the office workers who joined lunchtime demonstrations in a central business district - even as they smashed storefronts, threw gasoline bombs and blocked rush hour traffic and trains in escalating tactics created to get the government to bend to their demands, including full democracy and police accountability.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged China to preserve a free Hong Kong and backed Beijing's "one country, two systems" principle of governing it in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, just as pro-democracy candidates triumphed in an election in the city.
"It seems that people in Hong Kong are quite determined to show the government that they are not happy about that", Chung said.
A pro-democracy supporter (C) opens a bottle of champagne outside a polling station to celebrate after pro-Beijing candidate Junius Ho lost a seat in the district council elections in Tuen Mun district of Hong Kong, early on November 25, 2019.
On Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter, it was clear that some news had leaked behind the great firewall that cuts the country's internet off from the world wide web.
A record 71 per cent of Hong Kong's 4.1 million registered voters cast ballots in the city's only fully democratic elections, well exceeding the 47 per cent turnout in the same poll four years ago.
Despite setting up a command post in the neighboring town of Shenzhen, the Central Government suffers from a lack of reliable information about what is actually happening in Hong Kong.
"With the mandate from the Hong Kong people, protesters expect concessions from Beijing, but those concessions won't be coming".
The councils have historically been firmly in the grip of the Beijing-aligned establishment. Ho was stabbed with a knife during campaigning this month.
"For this major defeat, we do not want to find any excuses and reasons", said Lee, who went on to say that the party rejected her offer to resign earlier on Monday.
A number of pro-Beijing heavyweights including Junius Ho, whose abrasive public comments have made him a hate-figure amongst many protesters, lost to pro-democracy challengers.
More than 5,000 people have been arrested in the unrest that has contributed to Hong Kong's first recession in a decade.
Election authorities also banned leading democracy activist Joshua Wong from running, over his support for Hong Kong "self-determination".
"To say no to tyranny, the ballot on our hand is very important", Anson Chan, former chief secretary of the Hong Kong administration, told The Epoch Times before casting her vote.