onsdag 14. august 2019

China must pick the least bad option to resolve Hong Kong crisis. A PLA crackdown is not it

The crisis in Hong Kong appears to be careening towards a devastating climax. With China’s government now using rhetoric reminiscent of what preceded the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters – and, indeed, its democracy – could well be in grave danger. 

For more than two months, Hong Kong has been beset by protests. Triggered by a proposed law to allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, the demonstrations have since developed into broader calls to safeguard – or, perhaps more accurately, restore – the semi-autonomous territory’s democracy, including by strengthening state (especially
police) accountability.

As the unrest drags on, the Chinese government’s patience is wearing thin – and its warnings are growing more ominous. The People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong is, in the words of its commander Chen Daoxiang, “determined to protect national sovereignty, security, stability, and the prosperity of Hong Kong”. To drive the point home, a promotional video showing Chinese military officers in action was released along with the statement.