Hong Kong protests: what’s at stake for China? | The Economist


This protester calls himself “Bruce’’ We’ve hidden his face and obscured his voice to protect his identity He’s one of the millions of Hong Kongers taking to the streetsMany people here are wearing face masksPeople are hiding their identitiesThey fear that the government will press chargesWhat started as a protest against an extradition bill… …has become the most serious challenge… …to the Communist Party’s authority… …since the Tiananmen Square protest three decades ago As the demonstrations enter a third month… …neither the government nor the protesters is willing to back downPolice fire tear gas, rubber bullets……and use their police baton to hit the protestersBut it’s not enough to deter the demonstrators So what happens now?This is a real nightmare for the Communist government in BeijingThey can either crush Hong Kong……or they can tolerate being defied……in a way that undermines everything……about their whole structure of governmentThey have no good choicesHong Kong is one of the most important financial centres in the world And it has a unique status It’s a city in China but it’s not entirely Chinese It has its own currency… …its own passport… …its own legal system There’s even a boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China… …and you need a permit to cross it This is all down to its history In 1842 Hong Kong was ceded by the Chinese to the British… …after the first Opium War But in 1997 Britain gave it back to ChinaHong Kong people are to run Hong KongWith one important condition… …for 50 years Hong Kong was to be governed… …under what is known as “one country, two systems” The chief executive who runs Hong Kong… …would be appointed by a pro-Chinese committee But the city was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy… …with its own government, legal system… …and economic independence until 2047 Over the past decade those rights have been eroded Fuller democracy, promised as part of the handover agreement… …has yet to be granted by ChinaYellow ribbon means come back, come back democracyEmily Lau was a Hong Kong politician for 25 years Today she still campaigns for democracyThings have deteriorated fast……particularly since President Xi Jinping came to powerSo people are very concernedWe want freedoms, we want personal safety……we want the rule of lawChina’s grip has got ever tighter In 2012 the government tried to install… …a patriotic pro-Chinese education system Then five Hong Kong booksellers… …who sold material banned in mainland China disappeared In 2016 pro-democracy opposition leaders… …were thrown out of Hong Kong’s parliament… …for insulting China when swearing their oaths And then in February this year… …the government introduced a bill… …which would have allowed extradition to the mainlandVery few people in Hong Kong imagine there’s going to be……full-on, Western-style democracyBut they are very angry about the way that……what they believe they were promised……was something much more accountable where……you’d have something close to universal suffrageThe basic social contract……between the people of Hong Kong and their government is breaking downAll this is fuelling the protesters’ angerThe invisible hand from China……are getting more visibleThey are putting more controls on Hong Kong’s autonomy and democracyHong Kong is not ChinaPeople will say to you, “We know that 2047 is coming one day……but we don’t want it to happen now”As the protests get larger and more violent… …the chance of China intervening increases Beijing has made thinly veiled threats to send in its military forces… …the People’s Liberation ArmyThose who play with fire will perish by itAt the end of the day, they will eventually be punishedA few weeks ago nobody seriously thought……we could see another Tiananmen Square in Hong KongNow you can’t rule it outIn 1989 a student demonstration in Beijing ended in massacre Hundreds, maybe thousands, were shot dead For the Chinese government… …the Hong Kong demonstrators are defying the authority… …of a Communist leadership that cannot tolerate defianceFor President Xi Jinping……his kind of north and south, his east and west, is the absolute authority……and total control of the Chinese Communist PartyAnd anything that threatens that must be crushedThey are afraid that it could be very infectious……and they don’t want to see such marches……in the other parts of mainland ChinaAnother fear is some protesters’ demand for full independence But military intervention would be a very risky strategy for BeijingHong Kong for all its woes……is still a very rich world financial centreTo roll troops into that kind of financial centre……would be an economic catastropheIn 1993 Hong Kong’s GDP accounted for… …more than a quarter of mainland China’s Today China’s remarkable rise means that Hong Kong’s… …economic output makes up less than 3% of the mainland’s But Hong Kong remains important for China Multinationals use it as a launch pad to the mainland… …and it gives Chinese companies access to the rest of the worldSo we are very specialWe are a window for China to look to the outside world……as an international city with all our connectionsIt’s very valuable to ChinaSo how the turmoil is resolved matters to more… …than just the people of Hong KongThe government there said the People’s Liberation Army may be deployedBut if that’s the case, the game is overIf China uses lethal force……then you would see an economic crashThere’s 85,000 American expatriates in Hong KongYou would see them fleeing for the airportThis all comes at a time when China and America… …are waging a trade and technology war Bloodshed on Hong Kong’s streets… …would make relations deteriorate even further Beijing is now blaming outsiders for the troubleWe’ve seen remarkably explicit……state-media commentaries telling the people of China……that these protests are not just radical and violent……but are also orchestrated by foreign forcesThe Chinese government resolutely opposes……any foreign forces attempts to intervene in Hong Kong affairsFor the Chinese Communist leadership……what’s happening in Hong Kong is evidence……that as China rises as one of the world’s most powerful countries……that the West is using every means possible to divide and to frustrate ChinaFor China the situation has become much more than a dispute over a law It’s become an existential threat Bruce and the other protesters are holding their breathI still worry what happens next……because the situation could deteriorate very rapidlyChina’s Communist rulers must choose between two mortal dangers… …the collapse of economic stability and prosperity… …or the acceptance that protests can limit the Party’s absolute power

100 thoughts on “Hong Kong protests: what’s at stake for China? | The Economist”

  1. Join us today at 1pm GMT for a live Q&A with Robert Guest, The Economist’s foreign editor, and Anna Bucks, this film's producer who will be answering your questions about the Hong Kong protests. Here's the link to see it: https://econ.st/31O1rpu

  2. Mainland China always said Hong Kong is a very strong base for counter revolutionary movement. They have confirmed it many times but all the eyes in the world prevent them from taking real hard action.

  3. Who's behind Hong Kong protests? US interfering in other countries is a fact. I love Hong Kong. I love China. I love my motherland.
    The youngsters he is talking about are terrorists. They are only good at destroying things their slogan is "everyone in Hk die together", and their mission is to drag down the whole city.

  4. I don’t mind people looking for truth and freedom, but lying and distortion is not the right way to go. It is 2019, an era almost everyone has a smartphone, quit being lazy and do some research from locals.

  5. Actually Beijing has one more option, that is to let HK down sooner, and they've decided to do it yet. Hong Kong's economic boost in 20th century actually based on the separation between China and the rest of the world, so as a western city in the Eastern culture it quickly took advantage of factory resetting and a entry for foreign companies into mainland. But after one century of development, too much upper-classes running HK as their own city, the city now belongs to local rich. After the industry upgrading, now serve as a tourism and financial city, HK's economy relies too much on China just like every small country and region in East Asia, it's unique but not irreplaceable. Beijing may need to pay a lot in economy and politics and even authorities to replace Hongkong with Shenzhen or Shanghai, but sure it can. And that's a bigger crisis HongKong people will need to face in 5 to 10 yrs, much sooner than 2047.

  6. It entirely belongs to China, just working with another type of policy. What is wrong with your journalists? Have you done any study about history?

  7. Just let Hong Kong be independent, most of the population doesn’t agree with this and no one wants 2047 to happen so just let it run itself, it is capable to.

  8. You see, communist Soviet Russia was more powerful than the current China, it was the falling economy that ultimately broke the powerful soviet, military intervention could trigger such an event for China, I'm not worried, it's none of my concern, but Human Rights are being abused and so a closed door UNSC consultation is required just like they did in india's case, but in our case, kashmir isn't an economic hub

  9. One thing is very obvious!
    The people of Hong Kong want nothing to do with Mainland China.
    Almost no Asian nation does.

  10. Is it me or does this magazine support China and not Hong Kong, I doubt this magazine cares about freedom. Screw China they are an oppressive dictatorship that kills millions of people. Every country that is free should back Hong Kong and not China.

  11. If the CCP was smart they would had given Hong Kong their independence and cut ties and resources with them especially since they kept telling Hong Kongers how they can’t survive without the mainland power, protection, money and influences. If this is true Hong Kong will beg to be part of Mainland China.

    But instead CCP worries about giving anyone freedom of independence. They caused so much resentment and gave Hong Kongers no confidence in them.

    But I have a feeling they worry Hong Kong will be ok without them since they were separated from the mainlands for over 150 years.

  12. Some protesters said polices hit them. Ridiculous. Protesters used fire to burn policemen and use umbrellas to hit them. Police, in order to defend, hit them back. They are telling a fake, I promise.

  13. AS pointed out HK was more important in the past and in this demand for universal suffrage, the actors are seriously miscalculating their chances with bad consequences. The pro dem leaders can just leave with their foreign passports but the masses will be stuck in HK.

  14. Fear mongering about what will happen to HK's economy if the PLA comes in is overblown. What happened to China's after Tianamen?

  15. Window? No longer used. China has reached the world see America s actions against China and belt and road initative.

  16. well, china, just accept that your nation will fall apart, later or sooner. a tyrant nation won't last. be it in religious perspective or atheist perspective. what's goes around comes around.

  17. The Tiananmen Protests were much wider in scope. Back then, there were protests in every city in China. This new protest is only limited to Hong Kong.

  18. If you really want to know what people think about Chinese government and system, find someone who lives in mainland China and really SPEAKS Chinese. STOP interviewing people who are not inside China's society and letting them to judge the rest of 1.4 billion people. I know people in China is under a politic speech control, but that does NOT mean they can't have their views. Or maybe you did but you specially picked those who are against the government to say things you want? lol

  19. I find it so hilarious people are on here complaining about how biased Western media. Is Western media as biased as Chinese media? What? Huh? Wait there's a fucking firewall that blocks everything out. People in Hong Kong are willing to die over this. Obviously that's a big enough deal for you to think about whether your brain is completely brain washed and analyze the situation in a neutral point of view.

  20. After the downfall of hongkong the taiwan is next after taiwan the Philippines is next until they conquered the other countries. It will sparks a New World War. Economically.

  21. Notice the orange color worn and the Transgender leaders. This is all Freemasons. Anything connected to Britain and the royal family is fake and foul.

  22. Them thug HKers just throwing a tantrum over losing every advantages they have over Mainlanders since the 50s. Pissing and shitting on their own home won't help. Cause Beijing don't need HK but HK desperately needs mainland. Beijing just taking names and numbers now and eating pop corn watching the circus.

  23. The people have spoken. The communist party has to reform or they are headed for a war with their own citizens.

  24. Americans need to understand that they're the LAST FREE NATION on earth.

    See how communism & socialism is working out?

    Liberals are just being used to support this same ideology.

  25. THIS IS INSANE! THAT KIND OF MURDER HAPPENED IN THE PHILIPPINES MANY YEARS AGO, A CHINESE MAN DID IT TO HIS TRANSGENDER PARTNER, THEN A HONG KONG NATIONAL MURDERED HIS WIFE IN A FIT OF RAGE AND A TAIWANESE GUY PUT HIS TRANSGENDER PARTNER IN A LUGGAGE. I THINK HONG KONG, CHINA AND TAIWAN SHOULD LEARN TO VALUE RESPECT, MORAL CONDUCT, AND HAPPINESS. THEY ARE RICH BUT THEY LACK THE VALUE FOR HUMANITY. THEY ARE RACISTS, JUDGMENTAL AND BIGOTS. THEY ARE VERY PRACTICAL. THEY ARE STARTING A REVOLUTION AND ASKING FOR AN EQUALITY WHEN THEY THEMSELVES ARE EVIL TO OTHER ASIAN RACES. THEY NEED TO EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATION, HAPPINESS AND MENTAL HEALTH. LET'S FACE IT! THE TRUTH IS MANY OF THEM ARE UNHAPPY AND HAVE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM.

  26. This is a firearmless civil war and soon enough the civilians will get their hands on ammo from somewhere/some country. Then, either 3D print guns or acquire real guns and everything from there go's sideways. China is a dangerous entity to the world. America is a danger to itself while China threatens the world.

  27. The rioters are doing the commu gov a favor by shouting hk independence and hk is not China and rioting on the street. Mainlanders now think hk want independence instead of democracy and freedoms. This actually helps the gov spinning the story. Good job, people.

  28. China is one greedy country. And chinese people are misbehaving, filthy, disrespectful species. Esp. the mailanders.

  29. why don't point out that after the First Opium War, the UK forced China to split HK as a colony to the UK, and ruled by British for 156 years. Even gave it back to China in 1997, they still left many their influence in HK's political system and served for the UK government. HK has the extradition to the UK, the US, and many other western countries, but not mainland of China.

  30. China just want to control over people use violence like they have done to Tibet.
    No democracy. It is a fear to live in this country without any human rights.

  31. Thanks for presenting the worse case scenarios instead of finding language that will give the people and the government a conciliatory way out for both sides. News reporters like these only exacerbates the problem…flaming the fire of revolution…unnecessary death and destruction.

  32. Hong Kong started chaos with Carrie Lam's introduction of Extradition Bill to China. Since the Extradition Bill movement, Hong Kong started with demonstrations and protests. Carrie Lam was called a Treason of Hong Kong who violated China One Country Two Systems Agreement of the Basic Law Agreement. In order to cover up Carrie Lam's criminal activities. Carrie Lam worked with Hong Kong Police force for violence, riots, and brutalities. China sent 300,000 China PLA garrison army to Hong Kong north border, and China sent another group of China PLA garrison army to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. According to Hong Kong One Country Two Systems Agreement of the Basic Law, China PLA garrison army cannot enter Hong Kong. However, China cheated the world and Hong Kong people moved the troops from Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge into Hong Kong. China PLA garrison army also infiltrated into Hong Kong police force for more vigorous violence, riots, and brutalities. The infiltrated Hong Kong police cheated the world and Hong Kong people with China PLA garrison amy used outdated teargas in enclosed environments and police/military brutalities. China PLA garrison army moved into Hong Kong already upgraded Hong Kong riots into a Civil War, by definition, China state vs Hong Kong state. Since China PLA garrison army involved into Hong Kong riot as a Civil War, China and Carrie Lam are War Crime Criminals violated the Geneva Convention Agreement for illegal use of lethal weapons and humanity crime with brutalities. China and Carrie Lam also violated the International Tribunal Agreement for War Crime, Aggression Crime, and Humanity Crime under the definitions of the International Tribunal. China cheated the world Hong Kong is in a Civil War for a riot, and China sent China PLA garrison army into Hong Kong violated the China and UK One Country Two Systems Agreement for riot, violence, and military brutality.

  33. Ofcourse the first will be chosen if it not stops. They would never give up power. They only want to grow and succeed the soviet union.

  34. South Korea 's fake president Moon is destroying Korea now. Evil and fake President Moon is real communist . He is agaist U
    S.A and Japan. MOST KOREAN PEOPLE REALLY hate evil president Moon. May God save HONG KONG and SOUTH KOREA!!

  35. Lol this "freedom" that hk people are wanting "back". There was no trace of freedom or democracy when they were under British colonization at all. And HK stopped prospering because it was handed back to China? Give me a break. Hong Kong only prospered before 1997 because it was a gate for foreigners to access the Chinese market and vice versa. It just got lucky. Later, when China started opening up to the world, foreign businesses can go directly to Beijing, shenzhen, Shanghai, etc. Hong Kong is no longer special or needed. These protestors are really destroying Hong Kong even further. Most of them dont even work or pay the bills. Yet these constant protests have significantly interfered with the lives of the regular mass who are just trying to get by. Why doesn't the Western media show videos of protestors blocking the subway and the regular folks can't get to work? Sure, there are propaganda in China, but isn't it the same thing that the West is doing? Trying to divide the Chinese under the guise of "freedom"?

  36. THIS IS THE BUILD UP TO WHATS INNEVITABLY GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE WEST .
    JUST LOOK AT FRANCE AND THE UK . FREEDOMS ARENT THESE ETERNAL THINGS WE
    DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT, OFTEN WE IN THE WEST TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED BUT
    IN REALITY THESE FREEDOMS WERE HARD EARNT FOR US BY OUR ANCESTORS .
    AND NOW WE ARE SEEING THEM GETING ERODED MORE AND MORE. WITH THE RISE OF
    TECHNOLOGY HAVE COME MANY USEFUL THINGS BUT ALSO NEW AND TERRIFYING
    WAYS TO OPRESS US . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLzPHpNM2zg

  37. THIS IS THE BUILD UP TO WHATS INNEVITABLY GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE WEST .
    JUST LOOK AT FRANCE AND THE UK . FREEDOMS ARENT THESE ETERNAL THINGS WE
    DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT, OFTEN WE IN THE WEST TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED BUT
    IN REALITY THESE FREEDOMS WERE HARD EARNT FOR US BY OUR ANCESTORS .
    AND NOW WE ARE SEEING THEM GETING ERODED MORE AND MORE. WITH THE RISE OF
    TECHNOLOGY HAVE COME MANY USEFUL THINGS BUT ALSO NEW AND TERRIFYING
    WAYS TO OPRESS US . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLzPHpNM2zg

  38. I think i understand why Trump isint getting involved #1 it would diminish trade talks and #2 it's a game of chess what ever moves China makes the whole world is watching and China knows that but they are only diminishing their own reputation around the world .

  39. The downfall of China.  Eminent. China is going to shoot itself in the foot.  That will cause it's ultimate death. (of the Communist part)y The Communist party is made up af rats, snakes, and cockroaches, and cowardly murdering bastards.

  40. The "people's" liberation (read oppression) army has never fought a foreign army and won. Even India defeated them and their soldiers didn't even have shoes at the time. The only people they have ever killed were Chinese people, specifically unarmed civilians, a play right out of the playbook of Nazi Germany. It was the People vs the plo at Tienanmen Square and the plo won because they had guns and the people didn't. The plo does not defend Chinese people. They don't work for Chinese people. They don't even work for the Chinese state. They are essentially a foreign military staffed with local conscripts. Say for example that Vietnam declared war on Hong Kong but not the ccp, would the plo defend Hong Kong from attack? NO. They know they can't fight any foreign army and win. Their only purpose is to kill Chinese people. The west needs to send guns and munitions to the protesters and allow them to fight to take their country back for the communist occupiers.

  41. Are there more than half of HK citizen who actually support FreeHongKong? Any survey or vote by HK citizen? I wonder can HK survive without China? water and electricity supplied by China. Looks like it caused more dead once it happened and it isn't fair to rest of HK citizen who don't support.

  42. China is violating international laws and the basic civil rights of people in Hong Kong and they are being threatened. If you've lived there you realize that it's like smelly China imploring New York to assimilate with it. HK laws are very similar to Ametica and Britain. Communist China still believes in oppression and was not even allowed to try to assimilate politically for 50 years from '97

  43. The defender of peace! We build for China. China will grow larger. We stand together!
    CnC Generals aside, why does no Western country consider military intervention against China?

  44. When Honkong was under the contol of UK, it even didn't have the right to vote and street protest! And you call this is democracy? The Honkong belongs to China is a everyone knows truth, you want China to split? You want a peaceful country to split?! Also, the protestors beat and hurt the local police and stop the citizen from normal works, tell me if this happened in your country what your governors will do?!

  45. Believe me, CCP is far worse than both the IS and North Korea combine! They look good at the beginning but quickly drop the act once they can claim your territories. Everything that you once own will forever go and you yourself eventually become CCP's slave.

  46. So the British are now using media like Economist to spread fake news on HK again? Shameless! You guys paid these protestors to disturb HK. You have no rights to even talk about HK … you robbed HK, enslaved the people, sold opium to HK to make money, stolen the wealth…now what rights you have to talk about the democracy in HK??

  47. Who gave Britain the power to decide the fate of HK by this weird 50-year rule? They have learned nothing from what they have done in India-Pakistan partition. One maybe inclined to believe that they purposely create such global uncertainties so as to benefit from it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *