HONG KONG: Hong Kong activists called off protests on Wednesday (Sep 11) in remembrance of the Sep 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and denounced a Chinese state newspaper report that they were planning "massive terror" in the Chinese-ruled city.
Hong Kong has been rocked by months of sometimes violent unrest, prompted by anger over planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to China but broadening into calls for democracy and for Communist Party rulers in Beijing to leave the city alone.
"Anti-government fanatics are planning massive terror attacks, including blowing up gas pipes, in Hong Kong on September 11," the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily said on its Facebook page on Tuesday alongside a picture of the attacks on the twin towers in New York.
"The 9/11 terror plot also encourages indiscriminate attacks on non-native speakers of Cantonese and starting mountain fires," it said.
READ: Carrie Lam regrets foreign interference in Hong Kong's affairs, says more violence will not solve social issues
The Facebook post said "leaked information was part of the strategy being schemed by radical protesters in their online chat rooms".
The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent legal system, triggering the anger over the extradition Bill.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she will withdraw the Bill but many Hong Kong residents fear Beijing is steadily eroding the city's autonomy.
China denies meddling and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest.
"We dont even need to do a fact check to know that this is fake news," protester Michael, 24, said of the China Daily post.
"The state media doesnt care about its credibility. Whenever something they claimed to have heard on WhatsApp or friends friends, they will spread it right away," he said.