China said Monday it supports Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam, after the pro-democracy camp scored a crushing victory in community-level elections in the city after months of violence.
The result was a humiliating rebuke to Beijing and Lam, who has dismissed calls for political reform and had repeatedly suggested that a silent majority supported her administration and opposed the protest movement.
"China's central government resolutely supports chief executive Carrie Lam's leadership of the Special Administrative Region government," said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing.
Although the elections handle local concerns such as bus routes and garbage collection, the result has been seen as voters giving the territory's China-controlled administration a bloody nose after months of increasingly violent clashes between protesters and police.
Geng said the government also supported the police and judiciary in Hong Kong in "punishing relevant violent and illegal behaviours."
"The Chinese government's resolve to protect national sovereignty, security and development interest has not faltered. Its resolve to carry out one country, two systems has not faltered," he said.
Lam said earlier Monday that her government would "listen humbly" to the public.
Candidates favouring greater democracy seized an overwhelming majority of the 452 seats in the city's 18 district councils.