Beijing — Chinese state media responded to the escalating street violence in Hong Kong with harshly worded commentaries, condemning some politicians and teachers for emboldening the demonstrators as social media users called protesters “cockroaches” and “thugs”.

From late Tuesday to Wednesday morning, major state-owned news outlets including the Communist Party’s Global Times, People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency ran stories on Hong Kong highlighting destructive behaviour by pro-democracy protesters. The Global Times repeated a warning that Beijing could intervene militarily...

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