China – Hong Kong July 2019 – July 2020

Written by  //  July 10, 2020  //  China  //  1 Comment

Hong Kong extradition law
China – Hong Kong 2012 -2019
From a murder case to the death of ‘1992 consensus’,
Taiwan’s high stakes in the Hong Kong protests

Panorama of Hong Kong City; Shutterstock ID 357652193; Usage: web; Issue Date: N/A

We are all Hong Kongers now.
Benedict Rogers: what should the world do to save free and autonomous city
(Hong Kong Watch) Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp, Twitter, Google, Zoom and LinkedIn stopped processing requests for user data made by Hong Kong law enforcement authorities because of a controversial security law imposed by China on the city on the 1st of July. Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch, thinks that there are three approaches to Chinese authoritarianism which should be taken simultaneously – punitive, diplomatic and rescue.

6-7 July
National security law: social media giants refusing to cooperate with Hong Kong police may have to make exit plans, analysts say
Worst-case scenarios could see sites like Google or Facebook blocked in Hong Kong, while the city’s politicised status could see them pressured from two sides
But government says there is ‘nothing unique’ about new security law’s demands, arguing many jurisdictions have comparable legislation
(SCMP) Social media giants’ reluctance to hand over user data to Hong Kong police in national security cases could prompt the government to block their sites in a worst-case scenario or see them relocate, analysts warned, as the firms presented, for now, a united front against such requests.
Following announcements from Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram and LinkedIn that they were hitting pause on processing law enforcement requests for user data, TikTok, the popular short video app, said it would pull out of Hong Kong’s Apple and Google app stores within days.
In Hong Kong, a Proxy Battle Over Internet Freedom Begins
As the city grapples with new restrictions on online speech, American tech giants are on the front line of a clash between China and the United States over the internet’s future.
Now, the Hong Kong government is crafting web controls to appease the most prolific censor on the planet, the Chinese Communist Party. And the changes threaten to further inflame tensions between China and the United States, in which technology itself has become a means by which the two economic superpowers seek to spread influence and undercut each other.
TikTok pulls out of Hong Kong as tech companies push back against new security law
(Vox) The social media company TikTok has announced that it will no longer operate in Hong Kong, marking the most aggressive move yet by a technology company in response to the implementation of a new national security law that’s already being used to crack down on dissent in the region.

China warns the UK ‘had better ask its people if they agree to let three million Hong Kongers move there’ before approving the plan to defy Beijing’s security law
(Daily Mail) China has demanded Downing Street ask the British people if they would welcome three million Hong Kong immigrants before allowing some citizens from the former colony to work and settle in the UK.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on No. 10 to ‘think twice’ before making a final call on an offer to help British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders relocate from the Far East.
Hong Kong is a warning to the world that democracy is now in great peril
Beijing has banned Joshua Wong’s books, but they show us the shape of the terrible struggle ahead
By William Hague, former Foreign Minister and Leader of the Conservative party

1 -3 July
(Nikkei Asian Review) Shortly before midnight on June 30, the Hong Kong national security law was suddenly enacted. Until the last moment, the full text had not been published.
The next day will long be remembered — not because it was the 23rd anniversary of the peaceful handover of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, but because 370 people were arrested for peaceful protest. Some of them were merely carrying a blue flag emblazoned with a white “Hong Kong independence” slogan. Freedom of speech and assembly in Hong Kong was officially dead.
Hong Kong: UK makes citizenship offer to residents
(BBC) About 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6 million others eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years. And after a further year, they will be able to apply for citizenship.
British National Overseas Passport holders in Hong Kong were granted special status in the 1980s but currently have restricted rights and are only entitled to visa-free access to the UK for six months.
Under the government’s plans, all British Overseas Nationals and their dependants will be given right to remain in the UK, including the right to work and study, for five years. At this point, they will be able to apply for settled status, and after a further year, seek citizenship
National security law will uphold ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong, top Beijing official says
(SCMP) The new law ‘effectively stops the loopholes’ that existed in Hong Kong and undermined national security, senior Beijing official says
Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office says passage of the law marks a new milestone in central government policy for the city
The national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong will only strengthen “one country, two systems”, according to a top Beijing official who says no one knows how to protect the governing policy better than the central government.
Hong Kong: hundreds arrested as security law comes into effect
Teenager waving independence flag among those held as thousands take to the streets

29 June
China passes controversial Hong Kong security law
(Reuters) – China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule almost exactly 23 years ago.
The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the global financial hub was granted at its July 1, 1997 handover.
The United States began eliminating Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law on Monday, halting defence exports and restricting the territory’s access to high technology products.
This month, China’s official state agency Xinhua unveiled some of its provisions, including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that the power of interpretation belongs to China’s parliament top committee.

15 June
Hong Kong families, fearing a reign of terror, prepare to flee the city
(WaPo) A new law approved by the Communist Party to take effect this summer will allow China’s powerful state security agencies to operate in the territory, paving the way for political purges and intimidation of government critics by secret police. Officials are pushing to impose party propaganda in schools.
With their political freedoms deteriorating, nurses, lawyers, business people and other skilled workers are rushing to renew documents that could provide a pathway to residency in Britain, or finding ways to emigrate to Taiwan, Canada or Australia.
Applications for police certificates required to emigrate soared almost 80 percent to nearly 21,000 in the latter half of 2019 from a year earlier, even before the advent of the security law, coinciding with a crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Animal rescue groups have reported an increase in surrendered dogs as their owners leave Hong Kong. Protesters fearing persecution have sought refuge in Germany, the Netherlands and United States.

4 June
Police pepper spray Hong Kongers defying ban to mark Tiananmen

27-29 May
‘Facing the Darkest Hour’: Hong Kong’s Protest Movement in Crisis
As the Chinese government’s grip tightens, protesters are debating how and why to keep fighting, or whether resistance is even possible.
Protesters have deleted their social media accounts, afraid that their messages could be used against them under China’s new national security laws. Young parents have scoured the internet for instructions on emigration. Organizers have planned rallies, only to cancel them at the last minute in the face of impenetrable police blockades.
Hong Kong’s protest movement — which last year cowed the local government and humiliated the authorities in Beijing who direct it — is in crisis. The tactics that had pushed officials to retreat at times are suddenly inadequate against an aggressive police force, fear of the coronavirus and a Chinese Communist Party that has run out of patience. Many protesters feel they have exhausted their options.

China’s parliament approves Hong Kong security bill as tensions with the United States rise
The Chinese government’s law is fuelling fear that Beijing is imposing its authority and eroding the high degree of autonomy Hong Kong is meant to have until at least 2047

Will President Trump Stand With Hong Kong?
Time is running out for the free world to speak up.
(NYT editorial board) That China’s Xi Jinping is taking more steps to bring Hong Kong under the central government’s control should come as no surprise. President Xi has long made clear that he regards the enclave’s freedoms as a Western thorn in his side. With the world fixated on the coronavirus pandemic, with relations with the United States at a low, and with 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing for the annual propaganda-fest of the National People’s Congress, he evidently concluded that this was the time to pounce, proposing a national security law that could allow Chinese authorities to crack down on civil liberties in Hong Kong.
The Trump administration was left with no option but to acknowledge the new reality. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally advised Congress that the American government no longer believes that Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy from Beijing, a decertification that opens the way to ending all or some of the territory’s special trade and economic privileges.
How this latest showdown plays out could have major ramifications for the future of Taiwan and for China’s behavior in its neighborhood and the world. The question is whether President Trump has the leverage, support or stomach for the fight.
Mr. Pompeo’s announcement clears the way for lifting Hong Kong’s special privileges, but Beijing seems prepared for this, and it would also hurt the people of Hong Kong and the many American and other foreign businesses active there. Sanctions against China are another option, but the U.S.-China tariff war launched by Mr. Trump in 2018 has already hurt the American economy, and the Covid-19 pandemic would probably make Washington even less keen to get into a new tit-for-tat tussle with China.

26 May
Jeremy Kinsman and Larry Haas (video) discuss the situation in Hong Kong


24 May
Peter G. de Krassel: Even with protests, recession and coronavirus, Hong Kong is a better bet than Singapore
The singular advantage Singapore has over Hong Kong is affordable public housing. On all other fronts, Singapore is no better than Hong Kong. Even in the fight against Covid-19, Singapore is far behind Hong Kong
(SCMP) The singular advantage Singapore has over Hong Kong is real estate.

21 May
Beijing ‘out of patience’ after long wait for Hong Kong national security law, plans to proscribe secession, foreign interference and terrorism in city
(SCMP) Amid hostile political environment in deeply divided city, resolution for law will be presented as motion to National People’s Congress on Friday
Opposition politicians warn that enacting the legislation through promulgation is akin to announcing the death of ‘one country, two systems’
Beijing’s move also comes against the backdrop of rapidly escalating tensions between the United States and China. The US has until the end of this month to certify Hong Kong’s autonomy under the Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.
It will make an assessment on whether Hong Kong remains suitably autonomous from China, a prerequisite for extending the city’s preferential US trading and investment privileges.
Warning earlier that it would be a tough report, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday launched a verbal salvo against China and expressed Washington’s concerns over Hong Kong.

16 April
Donald Low: How Singapore can draw the right lessons from the coronavirus crisis
The government made three important mistakes in its Covid-19 response, and attributing blame correctly will inform future decisions
Singapore can learn lessons of diversity and humility from the crisis, and take note of the stoic resilience and adaptability of the Hong Kong people
(SCMP) The first was the initial assessment that Covid-19 was closer in severity to swine flu (or H1N1) than to Sars; this initial assessment informed the government’s decision not to close schools or introduce any of the lockdowns or shutdowns that are now (or were) in place in almost every major economy.
The second was the decision to actively discourage the wearing of masks. And the third was the decision (assuming it was a deliberate choice) not to take stronger, more decisive action in the foreign worker dormitories after a non-governmental organisation (TWC2) had highlighted earlier that given the crowded living conditions, the dormitories were a major source of vulnerability in Singapore’s containment efforts.

1 March
Coronavirus is fueling new protests in Hong Kong. Authorities aim to arrest their way out.
(WaPo) After widespread unrest in 2019, dissent in Hong Kong is evolving in the coronavirus era. With the risk of infection deterring large-scale rallies, at least temporarily, protests now involve localized, spontaneous flare-ups or strikes.
But a lack of faith in authorities’ response to the epidemic has deepened anti-government sentiment; leader Carrie Lam’s satisfaction rating is at a record low, according to the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.
… The wave of arrests during a public health crisis is compounding mistrust between Hong Kong residents and the city’s leaders, who are not directly elected and are widely perceived as serving the interests of the Chinese Communist Party before Hong Kong people. As prosecutors prepare to bring hundreds to trial on riot charges stemming from the pro-democracy rebellion, the tactics are setting up a new flash point.

28 February
Jimmy Lai: Pro-democracy media tycoon arrested and charged
(BBC) One of Hong Kong’s most high-profile entrepreneurs, pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai, has been charged with illegal assembly and intimidation.
The illegal assembly charge relates to a banned anti-government march on 31 August, which Mr Lai is accused of attending.
The intimidation charge relates to a clash with a journalist in 2017.
The newspaper Mr Lai founded, Apple Daily, is frequently critical of Hong Kong and Chinese leadership.
Two other pro-democracy figures, politicians Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum, were also arrested on Friday.
They have also been charged with one count of illegal assembly in relation to the same protest.
The coronavirus outbreak has paused the city’s pro-democracy rallies – but anger against the government is still widespread.
Prior to the outbreak, the city had seen almost weekly protests, with activists having a series of demands – including more democracy and less control from Beijing.

25 February
Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai jailed for 10 years in China
Swedish citizen who went missing in 2015 sentenced for ‘providing intelligence’ abroad
A Chinese court has sentenced the Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison for “providing intelligence” overseas, deepening diplomatic tensions as Sweden demanded that China release him.
A court in Ningbo, an eastern port city, said on Tuesday that Gui had been found guilty and would be stripped of political rights for five years in addition to his prison term. The brief statement said Gui had pleaded guilty and would not be appealing against his case.
Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen, ran a Hong Kong publishing house that acquired the independent bookstore Causeway Books, popular for gossipy titles about China’s political elite.
He was one of five people associated with the store who disappeared in 2015, in a case that rippled across Hong Kong, prompting fears about China’s growing grip over the city where the publishing industry had long enjoyed freedoms granted under the “one country, two systems” framework.

13 February
The coronavirus outbreak has only heightened Hong Kong’s hostility towards Beijing
The street protests might be less well attended now, but resentment against the authorities is still growing
(The Guardian) …at the start of the year, as news of the coronavirus outbreak started to surface, an exhausted population had something else to worry about. The epidemic, which has infected more than 44,000 people and killed more than 1,100 of them, has rekindled old fears. Once more, it has made many Hong Kong citizens feel that, in a crisis, they are unable to rely on a supportive, competent government: local leaders have kept dithering, half closing the border, then closing it a little more, while being unable to even guarantee a steady supply of face masks and toilet paper. Throughout, they wait for guidance from Beijing on how to act.

10 January
Hong Kong PTSD level ‘comparable to conflict zones’, study finds
(BBC) Around a third of adults in Hong Kong reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the often-violent pro-democracy protests, according to a new study.
The number was six times higher than four years ago, the University of Hong Kong study found.
Levels of depression are reportedly comparable to those in conflict zones.
The study’s authors urged officials to improve the city’s mental health provision.

1 January
First Hong Kong rally of 2020 ends in clashes
As thousands gather to take movement into new year, police fire tear gas and arrest ‘pro-democracy’ protesters.


9 – 10 December
Hong Kong set for ‘worst ever’ wave of layoffs, store closures
(Straits Times BLOOMBERG) More than 5,600 retail jobs could be lost and thousands of stores shut down over the next six months, as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue to disrupt sales during the crucial festive period.
About 30 per cent of respondents in a survey by the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said they’ll cut jobs while 43 per cent said they can’t continue to operate beyond six months.
Biggest Hong Kong protest in months signals more unrest in 2020
Hong Kong saw its biggest pro-democracy protest in months on Sunday (Dec 8), signalling more unrest to come in 2020 as the movement that began in June to fight China’s increasing grip on the city shows its staying power.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded the city’s major downtown boulevards, many waving United States flags, singing “Glory to Hong Kong” and chanting “Five demands, not one less”.
The protests were largely peaceful throughout the afternoon, though at night tensions emerged between riot police and some demonstrators. Some protesters also called for disruptions to the commute on Monday morning.
… Companies have got caught in the middle of the protests. Chinese retailers and branches of lenders like Bank of China have been ransacked, while Cathay Pacific Airways and the United States National Basketball Association have come under pressure from Beijing after employees supported the demonstrations. Over the weekend, the heads of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong were denied entry to Macau and sent back, with no explanation given.

2 December
China bans U.S. military aircraft and ships from Hong Kong
(Reuters via CBC) China banned U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong on Monday and slapped sanctions on several U.S. non-government organizations for allegedly encouraging anti-government protesters in the city to commit violent acts.
The measures were a response to U.S. legislation passed last week supporting the protests which have rocked the Asian financial hub for six months. It said it had suspended taking requests for U.S. military visits indefinitely, and warned of further action to come.
“We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs. China will take further steps if necessary to uphold Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity and China’s sovereignty,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing.

29 November
Chris Patten: Hong Kong Says No to the China Dream
China’s leaders and their mouthpieces in Hong Kong have repeatedly claimed that a silent majority of the local community opposed the demonstrators, and that foreign “black hands” were behind the protests. But the city’s district council elections on November 24 told a different story.
(Project Syndicate)  Some observers believe that the Chinese authorities now will aim to curtail the rule of law in Hong Kong, control the independent judiciary, introduce laws against sedition and subversion, and brainwash the city’s children. And this may well happen: in Beijing, policy is too often decided in an atmosphere of ignorance laced with paranoia.Yet, if China’s leaders were wise, they would reject this course of action. Instead, they would allow the Hong Kong government to start a dialogue with its citizens, and to use a commission of inquiry as a sort of truth and reconciliation body.
Hong Kong’s citizens want to continue living in a free society under the rule of law. That is their dream. As the recent elections showed, few of them are attracted to Xi’s.

27 November
As Hong Kong suffers, China risks losing its financial window on the world
The territory’s recession is getting deeper and the US is threatening its special trading status, bringing serious consequences for Beijing
(The Guardian) Almost six months after the protest movement that has upended life in Hong Kong began, the region is now facing serious questions about its future as Asia’s leading international business centre.
The most recent violence in the autonomous Chinese region have been the worst disturbances of the six-month long pro-democracy protests. US lawmakers have passed legislation threatening Hong Kong’s special trading status and the territory has slumped into its worst recession for 10 years.
With next year shaping up to be even tougher, the protesters appear to have achieved the ambition expressed in a recent poster on social media this week. “Squeeze the economy to increase pressure,” it urged.
Trade and commerce is the lifeblood of Hong Kong but it is bleeding badly. The economy is expected to shrink by 1.4% in 2019 and economists think growth could wither by as much as 3% in 2020 without a big fiscal stimulus.

26 November
Can Hong Kong Avoid Tragedy?
Andrew Sheng , Xiao Geng
To protect their own futures, the people of Hong Kong must reflect carefully on the need to end violent protests and work together to address genuine grievances. The alternative is not some fantasy of an independent and thriving Hong Kong. It is a devastated economy, a divided society, and a lost generation.
(Project Syndicate) If protesters in the US or France were rioting for six months, the government would send in the national guard to quell the unrest. Yet China has exercised strategic patience, recognizing that direct intervention could help those who seek to paint the conflict as a “clash of civilizations,” especially at a time when China is locked in a complex trade and strategic rivalry with the US.

24 November
Hong Kong Election Results Give Democracy Backers Big Win
A surge in voting, especially by young people, allowed democracy advocates to win many more seats on local councils.
(NYT) Pro-democracy candidates buoyed by months of street protests in Hong Kong won a stunning victory in local elections on Sunday, as record numbers voted in a vivid expression of the city’s aspirations and its anger with the Chinese government.
It was a pointed rebuke of Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong, and the turnout — seven in 10 eligible voters — suggested that the public continues to back the democracy movement, even as the protests grow increasingly violent. Young Hong Kongers, a major force behind the demonstrations of the past six months, played a leading role in the voting surge.
With three million voters casting ballots, pro-democracy candidates captured 389 of 452 elected seats, up from only 124 and far more than they have ever won. The government’s allies held just 58 seats, a remarkable collapse from 300.
The gains at the ballot box are likely to embolden a democracy movement that has struggled with how to balance peaceful and violent protests to achieve its goals.
They are also likely to deepen the challenges for China’s central government, which wants to curb the unrest in Hong Kong. And they might exacerbate Beijing’s fears about giving the city’s residents even greater say in choosing their government.

16 -19 November
Hong Kong protests: hundreds surrender to police after university standoff
Carrie Lam says no children have been arrested but they may face further investigation
About 600 protesters who were trapped by police inside a Hong Kong university have surrendered to the authorities, chief executive Carrie Lam has said.
Lam said that among those who had given themselves up to police were 200 children.
Over the past 24 hours police fought running battles with protesters trying to break a security cordon around Polytechnic University in the city, firing teargas both at activists trying to escape the besieged campus and at crowds trying to reach it from outside.
Lam said on Tuesday that she had told police to handle the situation in a humane way and that representatives had been sent in to persuade the remaining 100 protesters to come out peacefully.
Hong Kong Violence Escalates as Police and Protesters Clash at University
Hundreds of Hong Kong activists armed with petrol bombs and bows-and-arrows on Monday battled riot police who have laid a days-long siege to a university, the most violent confrontation yet in a half-year of protests. Early Monday, the police tried storming the campus at the main entrance and made some arrests. But the occupiers fought back with dozens of petrol bombs and set barricades ablaze, forcing the police to retreat. As day broke, the occupiers and the police were still locked in the standoff at Hong Kong Polytechnic University that began Saturday night, and smoke billowed from the grounds. Some protesters on Monday morning raced for the exits, only to be met with volleys of tear gas. The police used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and armored vehicles to try breach the barricades all day on Sunday. But activists resisted into the night. One police officer was hit in the leg by an arrow, while student leaders said protesters suffered eye injuries and hypothermia after being struck by the water cannon.

12 November
Campus clashes as universities become new battleground in Hong Kong anti-government unrest
Chinese University’s Sha Tin site was again plunged into hours-long confrontations between police and demonstrators
Protesters were angered by a student’s recent death, and by school bosses’ response to citywide turmoil
Hong Kong protests: city hit by travel chaos for third straight day
Several MTR stations are closed, buses cancelled, and roads blocked
Education Bureau refuses to suspend classes at schools
(SCMP) Hong Kong’s defiant protesters are aiming to bring the government to its knees by crippling transport links and setting up roadblocks to cause traffic disruptions in various districts for a third consecutive day.
Wednesday’s actions follow fiery battles the night before at Chinese University (CUHK) in Sha Tin as police and protesters locked horns in a full-day clash, marked by petrol bombs thrown by protesters, and tear gas and rubber bullets fired by officers. Late into the night, more unrest stirred in districts across the city.
At least 11 tertiary institutions, including CUHK and the University of Hong Kong, have announced classes will be suspended again due to transport uncertainties.
A total of 287 people were arrested on Monday after violent confrontations in multiple locations, including the shooting of a demonstrator, and protesters setting a man on fire. About 255 canisters of tear gas, 204 rubber bullets, 45 beanbag rounds and 96 sponge grenades were fired over the course of the day.

5 November
Xi Jinping’s meeting with Carrie Lam: she reveals she could feel his support for her to end Hong Kong protest violence; analysts say it was to quash rumours of her firing
President also took a measured approach in giving his assessment of the political crisis roiling the city, experts said
Formal sit-down in Shanghai was the first official meeting between the pair since anti-government protests broke out in June
Water cannons deployed in Tsim Sha Tsui as Hong Kong protesters wearing ‘V for Vendetta’ masks test new ‘flash mob’ tactic of assembling at short notice
(SCMP) Radicals wearing Guy Fawkes masks to mark one-month anniversary of government ban on face coverings smash up shops and block roads
Online TV news footage shows at least five protesters being subdued and taken away by police after a chase

30 October
Hong Kong braces for Halloween havoc as protesters target party district
(Reuters) – Hong Kong is bracing for a rowdy and possibly hugely dangerous Halloween on Thursday, when thousands of pro-democracy protesters, many wearing banned face masks, plan to combine with fancy-dress clubbers in the party district of Lan Kwai Fong.

27 October
Hong Kong enters recession as protests show no sign of relenting
(Reuters) – Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by more than five months of anti-government protests that show no signs of relenting, and is unlikely to achieve annual economic growth this year, the city’s Financial Secretary said.
“The blow to our economy is comprehensive,” Paul Chan said in a blog post on Sunday, adding that a preliminary estimate for third-quarter GDP on Thursday would show two successive quarters of contraction – the technical definition of a recession.
He also said it would be “extremely difficult” to achieve the government’s pre-protest forecast of 0-1 % annual economic growth.
Protests in the former British colony have reached their 21st week. On Sunday, black-clad and masked demonstrators set fire to shops and hurled petrol bombs at police who responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

25 October
From Hong Kong to the NBA, how China is losing the media war
(Nikkei Asian Review) Our magazine this week focuses on the media war being waged by the Hong Kong protesters. As the cover story notes, their social-network-led leaderless resistance appears to be working so far, at least in Hong Kong and in the Western world.
The city’s authorities have withdrawn the extradition bill, and some Western media report that Chief Executive Carrie Lam may soon leave office. The notion that she could be removed by “people power” poses a potentially huge threat to Beijing’s rule in the mainland.
We should not, however, underestimate Beijing’s ability to control the mainland media. Observers have reported that the protesters in Hong Kong receive little sympathy in the mainland. Public opinion is divided along the border. Given that Beijing controls military forces in Hong Kong, we cannot rule out the possibility of a forceful crackdown by the People’s Liberation Army, the People’s Armed Police, or both.
The average mainland citizen has very little access to information on the situation in Hong Kong. Their window on events is limited mainly to televised reports by the state media showing brutal scenes of destruction of public facilities and shops, or violence against police officers.
Such a skewed interpretation of what is actually happening could prompt ordinary Chinese citizens to support a possible crackdown in the future. If the protest movement is to be more successful, the activists in Hong Kong need to increase their efforts to win the moral support of the mainlanders.

23 October
China ‘draws up plan to replace Carrie Lam’ as Hong Kong protests drag on
Speculation over Hong Kong chief executive’s future comes as man whose murder case prompted the extradition bill is released from prison
(The Guardian) China reportedly has plans to replace Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, with an “interim” chief executive once protests have settled down.
The extradition bill was also formally withdrawn, a key demand of protesters, by the Hong Kong government on Wednesday.
Citing people briefed on the discussions on Lam, the Financial Times reported that Beijing plans to replace her next year. The chief executive has become a lightning rod for sweeping protests over the past four months, stemming from fears Beijing is tightening its grip and limiting the freedoms enjoyed under the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
Three more US senators back Hong Kong bill, including presidential candidate Kamala Harris
The proposed law would place economic sanctions on people the US deem to have violated the terms of Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China
(SCMP) The three additions mean there are now 31 cosponsors, nearly one-third of the 100 senators in Congress’s upper chamber.
The bill, which would place economic sanctions on individuals deemed to have violated the terms of Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China, could go to a Senate vote early as this week. It was passed by the House of Representatives with no objections last week.

20 October
Resurgent Hong Kong protesters stage huge rally, violence erupts again
(Reuters) – Police and pro-democracy protesters battled on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday as thousands of people rallied in several districts in defiance of attempts by the authorities to crack down on demonstrators.
Police blast mosque with water cannon as hundreds of thousands protest in Hong Kong
(WaPo) Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, defying a ban on assembly before being violently dispersed by police tear gas and a water cannon.
Protesters vandalized businesses viewed as supporting Beijing, threw molotov cocktails at police stations, set barricades on fire and smashed up subway stations in chaotic scenes that have become familiar to the city after five months of sustained protest.

15 October
Carrie Lam’s key speech suspended amid rowdy scenes in Hong Kong legislature – live
Hong Kong leader forced to stop policy address as opponents shout her down
US House approves Hong Kong bills in boost for protesters
House unites to approve Hong Kong measures, which still require Senate backing, drawing swift condemnation from China.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which protesters had urged legislators to pass, would end the Chinese city’s special trading status with the US unless the State Department certified annually that the authorities were respecting human rights and the rule of law.
A second measure, the Protect Hong Kong Act, would bar commercial exports of military and crowd-control items such as teargas.
The third is a non-binding resolution recognising Hong Kong’s relationship to the US, condemning Beijing’s “interference” in its affairs, and supporting the right of the city’s residents to protest.

14 October
Hong Kong protesters take violence to new ‘life-threatening’ level, say police
(Reuters via CBC) A small bomb exploded, police officer stabbed in clashes overnight

6 October
Thousands on streets of Hong Kong rage against mask ban
Peaceful protests in heavy rain descend into violence after police try to disperse crowds
(The Guardian) Thousands of people turned out in heavy rain across Hong Kong on Sunday to denounce a ban on face masks, brought in under sweeping colonial-era emergency powers in the city government’s latest attempt to stem a four-month-old protest movement.
Instead of cowing protesters, the ban has enraged them. Crowds shouting “Hong Kong resist” and “wearing a mask is not a crime” marched through the city centre, Kowloon district and several other areas under a sea of umbrellas.
The first few hours were peaceful but in late afternoon the protests slipped into violence after police tried to disperse the crowds. They fired teargas and used rubber bullets and pepper spray; protesters responded with bricks and molotov cocktails, and vandalised businesses thought to be pro-China.

1 October
Diplomatic Community with Jeremy Kinsman & Lawrence Haas on China celebrates 70 years of communism (video)
Protests Erupt in Hong Kong, Overshadowing China’s National Day Parade
One of the largest parades in modern Chinese history took place in Beijing to celebrate National Day. At the same time, violent protests broke out in the streets of Hong Kong in a challenge to China’s rule. Here’s what these dueling events looked like. Video credit: Gilles Sabrié and Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times
By Chris Buckley, Mike Ives and Steven Lee Myers
(NYT) BEIJING — China’s authoritarian president used the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Tuesday to pledge that nothing would stop his nation’s ascent. But the message was marred by some of the worst anti-government violence to convulse Hong Kong, including the first police shooting of a protester.

30 September
Major Clashes Erupt in Hong Kong Ahead of China’s National Day
(NYT) Three of Hong Kong’s main commercial districts were engulfed in thick clouds of tear gas on Sunday as pro-democracy demonstrators battled the police in an open challenge to Beijing just two days before China celebrates 70 years of Communist rule.
The protesters see the anniversary as a chance to broadcast their resentment of Beijing’s growing influence over life and politics in their semi-autonomous Chinese city.The local authorities, however, are under pressure to tamp down anything that could overshadow China’s official celebrations.
China quietly doubles troop levels in Hong Kong, envoys say
There are now up to 12,000 Chinese troops in Hong Kong, diplomats tell Reuters. Among them: members of the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary force that answers to Xi Jinping. If China moves to put down protests in the city, they will likely do the job.

29 September
Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Outfoxing Beijing Worldwide
The city’s protest movement has unofficial representatives, crowdfunded advertising, viral videos, and much else that has caught China off guard.
(The Atlantic) … These latest worldwide, pro–Hong Kong rallies are the most recent iteration of what supporters of repressed groups in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as those who back Taiwan’s sovereignty, have all struggled to do: Mobilize large communities internationally to denounce the Chinese Communist Party.
From Oslo to Osaka, Congress to the United Nations, Taiwan to Twitter, Hong Kongers have taken their DIY approach to protest to a global audience. Celebrity supporters testify in high-profile settings; highly targeted, crowdfunded media campaigns aim to keep the issue in the spotlight; and viral videos, catchy slogans, and even a movement anthem and flag help magnify the message on social media.
On September 17, a panel of witnesses including Ho and pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China in Washington, the latest in a string of public appearances for the two activists around the globe. [Denise] Ho has been especially active, shuttling back and forth between Hong Kong and elsewhere to promote her message of resisting Beijing to receptive crowds, especially in Taiwan.

27 September
Hong Kong’s protests have blown up the founding myths of Communist China
By Christian Leuprecht, Class of 1965 Professor in Leadership at the Royal Military College, cross-appointed to Queen’s University and Munk Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
(Globe & Mail) There are two fundamental myths that inform the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) claim to legitimacy and power. First is the idea that politics and the economy operate in separate spheres. It pretends that authoritarianism poses no impediment to prosperity, trade and investment. Second is the notion that the party’s leadership claim is unequivocal; the one and only party exercises its monopoly over power.
But more than 100 days of ongoing protests in Hong Kong have exposed the internal contradictions of those twin foundational narratives. As the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1 approaches, the CPC faces a predicament.
Hong Kong enjoys a unique legal framework governing its economy that offers foreign investors a degree of security that is not found on the mainland. Thanks to predictable conditions, Hong Kong is home to the world’s fifth largest stock market, and handles more freight than any other airport in the world.
As a result, foreign investment in mainland China runs predominantly through Hong Kong, where that money can be expatriated, legally and unencumbered – in dollars. Undermining Hong Kong, then, runs the risk of throwing the mainland into financial chaos.
Hong Kong has become a sanctuary for corrupt mainland CPC cadres and their clients to move their gains offshore. Illicit outflows from China to other countries over 18 months between 2015 and 2016 are estimated at US$1-trillion.

24 September
Video of police beating protester sparks outrage in Hong Kong
(The Guardian) On Tuesday, members of “protect the children”, a group of middle-aged and elderly residents who try to act as human barriers between the police and protesters, said one of their group was the person being kicked in the videos, contradicting police claims that officers were only kicking a “yellow object”.

23 September
Hong Kong protesters are ‘baying for blood’ as mobs attack civilians
(Sky news) Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong have turned violent after protesters turned on people suspected of supporting China’s policy towards the long-running demonstrations. (Video)
The recent violent acts by a small group of “demonstrators” destroying property et al. seems to be a triad-operation. Beijing makes a deal with a triad which sends their thugs to do the job. Hong Kong administration cannot control the situation and asks for help. China sends in troops/police (already waiting)  to help. Suddenly an annexation is a Fait accompli.
An outlandish theory? Not necessarily.

17 September
SCMP: 100 days of protests in Hong Kong (video)

4 September
Hong Kong protesters dismiss formal withdrawal of extradition bill as ‘band-aid on rotting flesh’
(SCMP) Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the controversial extradition bill that has caused nearly three months of social unrest in Hong Kong.
With the move, the government has met one of the key demands of protesters who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks in demonstrations that have turned increasingly violent. Two masked protesters later held a civilians’ press conference outside the legislative council, calling the move a band-aid on rotting flesh and reiterating their calls for “five demands, not one less.”

3 September
‘The end is coming’: China’s ‘bloody’ warning for Hong Kong
( The clock is ticking for Hong Kong, with experts pinpointing the exact day China is likely to run out of patience and resort to “bloody violence”.
Violence rising on both sides after 3 months of protests in Hong Kong
According to CBC’s Saša Petricic’s comprehensive report: “The scenes have become chilling, even in a Hong Kong that’s now hardened from three months of clashes between protesters and police. With demonstrations mostly outlawed, the same streets where millions once walked peacefully now see fires on the roadway and blood on the pavement.”

1-2 September
Special Report: Hong Kong leader says she would ‘quit’ if she could, fears her ability to resolve crisis now ‘very limited’
(Reuters) – Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has caused “unforgivable havoc” by igniting the political crisis engulfing the city and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording of remarks she made last week to a group of business people.
At the closed-door meeting, Lam told the group that she now has “very limited” room to resolve the crisis because the unrest has become a national security and sovereignty issue for China amid rising tensions with the United States.
Lam’s dramatic and at times anguished remarks offer the clearest view yet into the thinking of the Chinese leadership as it navigates the unrest in Hong Kong, the biggest political crisis to grip the country since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Lam suggested that Beijing had not yet reached a turning point. She said Beijing had not imposed any deadline for ending the crisis ahead of National Day celebrations scheduled for October 1. And she said China had “absolutely no plan” to deploy People’s Liberation Army troops on Hong Kong streets.
Masked protesters wreak havoc on Hong Kong airport and trash railway station, forcing desperate travellers to head to city on foot
(SCMP) Protesters prevented from entering airport by a court injunction cause chaos outside the terminal building and leave transport in disarray
Sunday’s protests followed a night of violence after tens of thousands joined an illegal march that descended into pitched battles with riot police.
Live rounds were also fired by officers in desperate moments when they were under attack by violent mobs on Saturday.

30 August
Beijing’s Hong Kong Strategy: More Arrests, No Concessions
Officials in Beijing, along with the Hong Kong government that answers to them, have decided on a policy of stepped-up arrests of demonstrators, who would be publicly labeled the most radical of the activists, according to Hong Kong cabinet members and leaders of the local pro-Beijing establishment.
Beijing has also ruled out making concessions to the demonstrators, they said. With protest leaders also vowing not to back down, the officials acknowledged that the price of the strategy could be months of acrimony, possibly stretching into 2020.
Tensions mount as activists, lawmakers arrested in crackdown ahead of banned march
Among those arrested are activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Andy Chan; lawmakers Cheng Chung-tai, Au Nok-hin and Jeremy Tam also held
Pan-democrats slam arrests, saying timing is meant to suppress protest movement but will backfire and fuel greater anger
(SCMP) They were detained on a slew of charges for their involvement in various protests sparked by the now-shelved extradition bill since June. The arrests came as an appeal board upheld the police’s objection to a march and rally proposed by the Civil Human Rights Front – organiser of three record-breaking marches over the past two months – for Saturday, forcing it to call off the planned action.

28 August
‘A nuclear option’: Hong Kong and the threat of the emergency law
(The Guardian) The Hong Kong government’s hint that it may use a draconian law to quell its biggest crisis in decades has sparked widespread concern, with analysts saying it would plunge the city into a worse crisis.
The city’s leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the government will use existing laws to “put a stop to violence and chaos”, after the pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Tao Daily said the government was considering invoking the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, a colonial era law with sweeping powers that was last used in 1967, to put an end to the current political crisis.
The violent clashes between riot police and protesters last weekend were the fiercest yet since early June, when a wave of protests started in opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill under which individuals could be sent to mainland China for trial.
Police used water cannon for the first time on Sunday along with teargas and beatings as they fought running battles with protesters, who threw bricks and petrol bombs. Protesters have been demanding the complete withdrawal of the bill, the investigation of police use of force and free elections but Lam reiterated on Tuesday she would not give into their demands.
The Emergency Regulations Ordinance, introduced in 1922, grants the city’s leader sweeping powers to “make any regulations” he or she may consider in the public interest in situations considered “an occasion of emergency or public danger.”
These regulations will empower the government to impose a series of draconian measures, including censorship, control and suppression of publications and other means of communications, arrest, detention and deportation as well as the authorisation of the entry and search of premises and the taking of possession or control of any property.

27 August
Hong Kong’s Real Problem Is Inequality
By Andrew Sheng , Xiao Geng
A powerful, but oft-ignored factor underlying the frustrations of Hong Kong’s people is inequality. And, contrary to the prevailing pro-democracy narrative, the failure of Hong Kong’s autonomous government to address the problem stems from the electoral politics to which the protesters are so committed.
(Project Syndicate) Since China regained sovereignty over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, the city has prospered economically, but festered politically. Now, one of the world’s richest cities is engulfed by protests, which have blocked roads, paralyzed the airport, and at times descended into violence. Far from a uniquely Chinese problem, however, the current chaos should be viewed as a bellwether for capitalist systems that fail to address inequality.
…  As the political scientist Francis Fukuyama has conceded, centralized, authoritarian systems can deliver economic outcomes that are superior to decentralized, inefficient democratic regimes. It is also worth pointing out that officials like [Hong Kong legislator Fernando] Cheung are free to criticize China’s government on the international stage. Those who think that China’s government will resort to a military-led forget Sun Tzu’s dictum that winning wars without fighting is the “acme of skill.” China’s government is well aware that if Hong Kong becomes a political or ideological battleground, peace and prosperity will suffer in both the city and on the mainland. Given this, it is willing to go to great lengths to uphold the “one country, two systems” arrangement that forms the basis of its sovereignty over Hong Kong.What China’s government is not willing to do is consider independence for the city.

25 August
Hong Kong protests: dozens arrested as government warns of ‘very dangerous situation’
(The Guardian) Dozens of people, including a 12-year-old, have been arrested after a night of escalating violence in Hong Kong that saw police fire a warning shot near protesters and use water cannon for the first time.
Police said they arrested 29 men and seven women, aged 12 to 48, for offences including unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons and assaulting police officers.
Sunday’s protests saw some of the fiercest clashes yet between police and demonstrators since violence escalated in mid-June over a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Police fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas in running battles with brick-throwing protesters. Six officers drew their pistols and one officer fired a warning shot into the air, police said in a statement.
Early on Monday morning, the Hong Kong government said it “severely condemns” the protesters. “The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation.” It said police will “strictly follow up” on those acts.
“Police will take relentless enforcement action to bring the persons involved to justice,” it said.

21 August
China’s three-pronged strategy to choke Hong Kong’s protests
China has deployed a three-pronged strategy to suffocate pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong – propaganda, economic leverage and intimidation
(AFP) As protests erupted in June, discussion inside authoritarian China was muted, censored on social media or played down on state outlets.
But as chaos unfurled across Hong Kong, Beijing changed tack seeking to shape the narrative in its favour.
After a tense airport siege, which saw protesters assault two Chinese nationals accused of being “spies,” Beijing ramped up the rhetoric saying protesters were guilty of “terrorist-like actions.”… recasting the protesters as a rabble rather than a movement with legitimate concerns over China’s influence over Hong Kong, is not just for domestic consumption.

19 August
As champions of liberty and democracy, G7 leaders must speak out on Hong Kong
Colin Robertson
(Globe and Mail)  The Hong Kong demonstrations are a reminder that the desire for freedom is the elementary force driving all liberties. Those who should be liberty’s champions – the G7 democracies – are meeting this weekend in Biarritz. They need to speak out on Hong Kong and keep watch on what is happening.
The joint statement on Hong Kong by the Canadian and European Union foreign ministers calling for restraint, engagement and preservation of fundamental freedoms is a start. As a next step, why not create an eminent persons’ group to keep tabs on Hong Kong and make regular, public reports to G7 leaders?

18 August
Hong Kong: 1.7m people defy police to march in pouring rain
An estimated quarter of the population fill downtown park and surrounding streets
Hong Kong’s dilemma: fight or resist peacefully

14 August
Sebastian Veg: Beijing’s game plan for crushing the Hong Kong protests is now clear
Manipulation of public opinion and pressure on the region’s businesses, universities and judiciary are part of the strategy
(The Guardian) Beijing has engaged in a battle to turn public opinion in Hong Kong against the movement and to isolate the “violent extremists” from the “patriotic silent majority”, especially by highlighting the economic impact of protests. Depictions of the protests as instigated by “foreign forces” were stepped up.
Beijing continues to rely on a “strategy of attrition” – one that served them well during the 2014 unrest. But at the same time, China continues to hint at the possibility of a military crackdown, releasing videos showing troop carriers moving to the border.
The Chinese government position is no doubt driven by fear of contagion to the mainland and geopolitical anxiety about Hong Kong’s loyalty. This must be balanced against the need to maintain Hong Kong’s perceived stability and prosperity, and to safeguard China’s influence in Taiwan.

13 August
Reuters: A state of “panic and chaos” exists in Hong Kong, the city’s embattled leader said, defying calls to quit as the stock market tumbled, airlines flagged further flight disruptions and anti-government protesters filled the airport. Flight check-in services have been suspended at Hong Kong’s international airport, the airport authority said, citing disruptions caused by anti-government protests.
Hong Kong’s last British governor Chris Patten cautioned that if China intervened in Hong Kong it would be a catastrophe and that Chinese President Xi Jinping should see the wisdom of trying to bring people together. Patten said it was counter productive of the Chinese to warn of “other methods” if the protests did not stop.
Hong Kong airport: flight chaos as Carrie Lam warns of ‘path of no return’
Hundreds of flights cancelled ahead of further protests as territory’s leader says violence is pushing city into danger
(The Guardian) Thousands of passengers remained stranded on Tuesday after one of the world’s busiest airports shut down in a dramatic response to Monday’s mass demonstrations.
Hong Kong’s protesters have shown courage, creativity and thoughtfulness. Will the city still have a place for them when this is over?
by Peter Kammerer
It’s one thing to disagree with the protesters, but simply listening to them shows they are not mere thugs and rioters
Moreover, they may have done Hong Kong a service by exposing the ineptitude of our government and police
(SCMP) Beijing and its backers call the young Hong Kong protesters clashing with police separatists, independence-seekers and radicals. They are without doubt lawbreakers and there is certainly a small number seeking self-determination. But the majority also happen to be well-educated, intelligent, energetic, enthusiastic, courageous, creative, thoughtful and all manner of other qualities, which seem in short supply among those in charge in our city.

6 August
Hong Kong’s peace prospects recede amid teargas and smoke
As protests intensify it is hard to see how deadlock can end without death or serious injury
Over the last few weeks, protesters in Hong Kong have taken to spraypainting traffic barriers, bridges, police stations and more with the words: “If we burn, you burn with us.”
On Monday, much of the city burned under clouds of teargas, hails of rubber bullets, and fires lit by angry protesters facing off against riot police. Protesters and a group of men brawled on the street, hitting each other with wooden rods and traffic cones. In another neighbourhood, two people were knifed. Three cars rammed through crowds of protesters, injuring one person.
After nine weeks of protests, demonstrators and the local government, backed by Beijing, find themselves in a stalemate where the possibility of a peaceful resolution has become more and more unlikely.

2 August
As Hong Kong fights for its life, an embarrassed China has only violence to offer
The protests in Hong Kong represent an embarrassment for China, whose usual tools of crushing dissent have fallen short, Evan Fowler, an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and life-long Hong Konger told Business Insider.
Protests in Hong Kong that started over the narrow issue of a bill that would allow the communist party to extradite its citizens to the mainland have now fanned out into a wider reckoning on the very foundation of the city’s governance.

1 August
Gwynne Dyer: At this point the Hong Kong confrontation is purely symbolic
Protesters are trying to make a point: that interfering with Hong Kong’s freedoms is more trouble than it’s worth.
The demonstrators in Hong Kong have carried on because they are trying to make a point: that interfering with Hong Kong’s freedoms is more trouble than it’s worth. So long as Hong Kong remains economically important to the People’s Republic, they have a chance of succeeding, but they can never expect a decisive victory.
Seven and a half million people in Hong Kong are never going to force the Beijing regime to do anything. With the right tactics, however, they can probably preserve their own freedoms, and continue to serve as living proof that an ethnic Chinese society does not have to be a tyranny.

31 July
Playing for time: China, Hong Kong and its deepening protests
China seems to indicate further reliance on police – not military – force to contain Hong Kong protesters.
(Al Jazeera) As Hong Kong plunges deeper into its worst political crisis since the territory was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, a rare press briefing from the government in Beijing has provided an insight into how it might respond to the mass protests that have rocked the city since June.
China’s top office for handling Hong Kong affairs resolutely condemned the protesters, restated its support for embattled leader Carrie Lam, opposed the violence, supported the police, and affirmed the importance of “One Country, Two Systems,” the governance framework that affords Hong Kong rights and freedoms unseen on the mainland.
China called the return of law and order its “most pressing priority”.

30 July
On Hong Kong, the US must find its voice
(Brookings) The United States has direct interests in Hong Kong. Over 85,000 American citizens live there, and nearly 1,400 American businesses operate there. The U.S. trade surplus in Hong Kong in 2017 was $32.6 billion. In other words, U.S. economic interests in Hong Kong are significant.
Given these direct interests, the U.S. has a strong incentive to support efforts to preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its model of a vibrant, open, rule-of-law society that is a part of China. The use of violence by any side in the ongoing confrontation undermines American interests. It would run counter to American interests for Beijing to weaken Hong Kong, including by narrowing its autonomy, e.g., by eroding legal, judicial, media, assembly, or speech freedoms. By the same token, the peaceful exercise of political freedoms by protesters provides a stronger likelihood of long-term stability than actions that precipitate the imposition of tighter political controls.

26 July
Hong Kong’s not dead – yet. But Carrie Lam and her cabinet must act
If Hong Kong is to survive this ordeal, the protesters must avoid provocative acts that make crackdowns more likely
The SAR government is most responsible for the escalation, though, through its misguided bill and recent inaction

By Cliff Buddle, SCMP columnist
The death of Hong Kong has been forecast many times, but the people of this vibrant and spirited city have always proved the doubters wrong. In recent weeks, however, even the most optimistic have started to fear Hong Kong is in terminal decline. So many qualities which make the city special have been undermined.
Protests are daily occurrences. Violent clashes with police have become the norm. The legislature has been ransacked, police headquarters pelted with eggs and Beijing’s liaison office daubed with graffiti. Most disturbing of all was the brutal, organised attack by stick-wielding assailants on protesters and passengers at Yuen Long MTR station last weekend, leaving 45 injured. This is not the Hong Kong we know.
The impact of these events, which began with peaceful mass protests against the government’s misconceived plans for an extradition bill last month, has been dramatic. Hong Kong’s long-held reputation for the maintenance of law and order has been shattered. Its status as one of the world’s safest cities has, at least temporarily, been lost. Tolerance is in short supply as the divisions in society deepen.
Hong Kong protesters occupy airport amid fears of escalating violence
(WaPo) The action, organized by aviation workers such as flight attendants and airport staff, marked the latest and most international phase in a campaign by Hong Kongers to safeguard the semiautonomous city’s relative freedom and rule of law from what they see as the Chinese government’s steady erosion of their rights. Unlike in previous protests, the demonstrators at the airport wrote signs and fliers primarily in English, and alternated between Cantonese and English chants.

23 July
Hong Kong protesters pledge to stand up to thugs after attack
Anger growing against police and authorities after masked men left 45 people in hospital

21 July
As it happened: Hong Kong police fire rounds of tear gas in heart of city, while violence breaks out in Yuen Long
Crowds use barricades to block thoroughfares and some earlier threw eggs at Beijing’s liaison office
In Yuen Long, away from the city centre, passengers on the MTR are attacked by a group of men

The Normalization of Radicalism in Hong Kong
What was once extreme here, both in action and in discourse, is becoming the norm.
(The Atlantic) During a recent meeting in her party’s headquarters, the Hong Kong cabinet member Regina Ip admitted that weeks of demonstrations here have put the government on the back foot.
“I never expected mass protests to continue for such a long time,” the pro-Beijing stalwart and legislator told me. “Sophisticated” protesters, she added, had “outmaneuvered the government” and were now seizing on a growing list of grievances, wielding them as “a rod to beat the government.”
As huge numbers of people have called for their city’s autonomy to be maintained and expanded in the face of steady encroachment by the mainland-Chinese government, lines are being crossed: Protesters have grown bolder and more extreme, even breaking into the city’s most prominent government building, and the authorities more draconian in their response.

10 July
From Iron Lady to lame duck: Hong Kong leader’s departure seen as mere matter of time
(Reuters) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s apologies and explanations for a doomed extradition bill have failed to quell political tension and her departure is now seen by many in the Chinese-ruled city as merely a matter of time in a drawn-out, long goodbye.
Under the handover deal with Britain, Hong Kong was allowed to retain extensive freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a “one country, two systems” formula, including its independent judiciary and right to protest.
Beijing might want Lam to at least repair some of the damage caused by the extradition bill fiasco before leaving to help any successor, but would almost certainly want her gone before Legislative Council elections in September next year, [political scientist and commentator Sonny] Lo said.

4 July
The Peacemaker at the Center of Hong Kong’s Turbulent Protests
(NYT) There are no official leaders in Hong Kong’s protests against an unpopular extradition bill that has brought to the surface deep-seated anxieties about Beijing’s grip over the territory. But [Roy] Kwong, a longtime advocate who is also a romance novelist, has emerged as a leading voice for moderation and a hero for the city’s youth, who have nicknamed him “God Kwong.”
After the attack on the legislature, he is now a key figure in the effort to hold together one of Hong Kong’s most potent political movements in recent years.
On one hand, Mr. Kwong is seeking to reassure a core group of young protesters — whose vandalism of the legislature highlighted their disillusionment with politicians as a whole — that he is on their side. On the other, he is trying to persuade the broader public that the demands and tactics of the protesters, even at their most extreme, are legitimate.

2 July
How to understand the symbolic occupation—and destruction—of Hong Kong’s legislature
(Quartz) They destroyed the glass facade of the building. They tore up the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution that sets it apart from mainland China’s legal system. They spray-painted over the city’s insignia, a bauhinia flower, but only the part that read “People’s Republic of China.” They put up the British colonial flag. They defaced the portraits of several former presidents of the legislature. And they scrawled a message for Carrie Lam, the city’s top official, on a pillar: “It was you who told me peaceful marches do not work.”
Trashed Hong Kong legislature out of action for two weeks because of damage caused by protesters, says council president Andrew Leung
Meetings cancelled at Legislative Council after raid brings down security system, power supply and fire alarms
What the Hong Kong Protests Are Really About
Chinese people in Hong Kong live better than any in Chinese history. This gives moral force to our way of life.
By Jimmy Lai, founder and majority owner of Next Media, which publishes the Apple Daily newspaper and Next Magazine in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
(NYT) The inconvenient truth is that Chinese people in Hong Kong (and in Taiwan) live better than any Chinese in Chinese history. This gives moral force to our way of life. It also shows the extraordinary things Chinese people can accomplish when given the freedom to do so.
Hong Kong’s moral force has also been economically good for China, since the moral force of our free society cannot be separated from its prosperity. It is not likely that Beijing agreed to have the government of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, suspend consideration of the extradition bill just because a lot of people marched against it. No doubt President Xi learned much about capital flight and jittery investors during those protests and saw how badly China still needs a prosperous and functioning Hong Kong.

One Comment on "China – Hong Kong July 2019 – July 2020"

  1. Diana Thebaud Nicholson October 16, 2019 at 2:09 am ·

    The protest-leader Jimmy Sham has been viciously attacked again. This time by five men with identical hammers.
    Smells of a purchased job by one of the Triads frequently doing “favors” to the authorities who in turn let them operate fora reasonable cut.

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