fredag 9. august 2019

If China Cracks Down on Hong Kong, There’s Little Anyone Can Do to Stop It

After months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, China’s central government signaled this week that it was losing patience with the demonstrators and might be preparing for a major crackdown.

On Tuesday, Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the protesters had “exceeded the scope of free assembly” and would face “a blow from the sword of law.” Yang’s comments came after the defense ministry warned last month that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army could be called in to help Hong Kong police quell the protests, which the government has characterized as “riots,” and after images and videos were released of soldiers and police officers training to confront protesters.

Yang’s statement was precipitated by a massive three-day civil-disobedience campaign, including large rallies throughout the city, blocking trains and roads, and a general strike that saw 200 flights canceled after 2,300 civil-aviation workers called in sick to work on Monday. Hong Kong’s government responded with escalatory measures, arresting 148 people and firing 800 canisters of tear gas on Monday — nearly as much as had been used in the preceding eight weeks combined.

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