China issued a warning to Hong Kong on Thursday that the ongoing pro-democracy protests are considered illegal and their continuation would yield "unimaginable" consequences.
The People's Daily newspaper, considered a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, published a front-page editorial on Thursday denouncing the protests.
"They have incited the masses, paralyzed transportation, disrupted businesses, stirred up conflict, and interfered with the daily lives of Hong Kong people...
"This has gone so far as to threaten people's safety, as well as their property...
"These activists ought to be held legally responsible for this unlawful behavior."
If protests continue, China warned, the "consequences will be unimaginable."
China continues to support the government of Hong Kong, led by Leung Chun-ying, whom protesters are trying to oust.
The protests began Sept. 26, with a growing mass of demonstrators taking to the streets to call for elections to determine Leung's successor. Protest leaders warned Wednesday that if Leung doesn't resign, they would "escalate the operation" by occupying government buildings.
While the protesters say they will negotiate with the Hong Kong and Chinese government, Lester Shum, a leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students who helped organize the protest, insists "we will not talk to C.Y. Leung."