Protests in Hong Kong started gaining momentum since early June and have drawn tens of thousands, but there was no mention of it in any Chinese state media until Tuesday — a day after a group of protesters turned violent and broke into the territory's legislative council building.
China's state broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday evening that "some extremists" stormed the Hong Kong legislative building and vandalized it.
CCTV, a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, said the "rare scene" was "condemned by people from all walks of life in Hong Kong," according to a CNBC translation.
For nearly three weeks now, political tensions in Hong Kong have risen amid on-and-off protests over an extradition bill that would have allowed anyone arrested in the city to be sent for trial in mainland China. The bill has since been suspended but citizens want it to be withdrawn completely.
"If such atrocities are encouraged and condoned, it will violate the rule of law in Hong Kong and challenge all law-abiding citizens," CCTV reported. The broadcaster cited business and religious communities as speaking against the violence, but there was no mention of the extradition bill and why the protesters were demonstrating.
Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997, when it became a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China under a "one country, two systems" framework with the territory's legal system independent from the rest of China. Citizens of the Asian financial hub are concerned that their civil rights are slowly being eroded under Beijing.
The protests have been largely peaceful. Half a million people were estimated to have marched the streets for democracy on Monday, but Chinese state media reported that 5,000 people gathered at Victoria Park in downtown Hong Kong that morning to celebrate the "return to motherland."
After protests turned violent, the People's Daily, the official newspaper for China's Communist Party, called the violence an "undisguised challenge" to the country's authority.
China Daily, the official English state-owned newspaper, deflected its coverage of the incidents from politics to economics, reminding readers that Hong Kong's prosperity and China's fast pace growth over the last two decades go hand-in-hand.
In a Tuesday editorial, it said the best way to deal with Hong Kong was to push for further economic integration with the mainland.
"The only way for (Hong Kong) to sustain economic growth and maintain stability is for it to further integrate its own development into the nation's overall development," it said.
– Reuters contributed to this report.