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What Will China Do With The Hong Kong Protests?

Authored by Lawrence Franklin via The Gatestone Institute:

Protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (SAR) — which began in early June with demonstrators denouncing a proposed law to permit the extradition of SAR residents to the mainland to be tried in Chinese Communist courts — have entered their 12th week and show no signs of abating. If anything, they are becoming increasingly strident, with calls for the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s administration, among other broadening demands . The unfolding events present the Communist Party leadership in Beijing with a serious dilemma: to quell the protests with military force or wait until they die down.

According to a recent analysis in Bloomberg:

“In theory, [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] could quickly do away with Hong Kong’s autonomy and activate the city’s garrison overnight. But the likelihood of mobilizing troops remains low and the fallout from doing so — for both China and Xi personally — is potentially much higher than dealing with the political and economic repercussions of the protests, not least because he’s already engaged in a damaging trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump.”

The Hong Kong protests reportedly were a topic of debate at this year’s annual meeting of current and former Communist Chinese leaders, which was held in Beidaihe in early August. The discussions likely included possible courses of action that the Xi government could take, such as encouraging Hong Kong’s business community to call for an end to the demonstrations, for the purpose of restoring economic stability by reversing recent negative trends in retail sales, tourist-generated income and nervousness among foreign investors.

Beijing is currently exercising some version of this option, but by depicting protesters in a poor light — accusing them of being “terrorists” manipulated by “foreign forces” bent on harming China — and warning them to stop “playing with fire.”

China’s state media accused the demonstrators of conducting a “color revolution.” The name reflects Beijing’s sensitivity to how many of the former satellites of the USSR successfully seceded from the Soviet Empire, employing different colors of the rainbow as a symbol of their revolutionary intent.

Beijing also attempted to discredit the protesters through hundreds of fake accounts on social media. To their credit, Facebook and Twitter discontinued the Chinese government’s access to those accounts.

A more forceful option that the Xi government may decide to pursue involves the infiltration of Hong Kong’s local police force with the People’s Liberation Army Garrison. Beijing cannot count on the loyalty of the Hong Kong police force, many of whose members are close relatives of the protesters.

Moreover, the Hong Kong police have proven unable to control, much less terminate, the protests. Acknowledging this reality, Carrie Lam could request the intervention of the People’s Armed Police (PAP), a paramilitary force stationed in the nearby town of Shenzen in mainland China’s Guangdong Province.

It may be, however, that Lam, a Catholic, would be loath to make such a request — formally — as a heavy-handed Chinese intervention could endanger the independence of Hong Kong’s economic, political and religious institutions.

Alternatively, the People’s Republic of China Liaison Office might bypass Lam’s local administration and order the deployment of the PAP, China’s most effective arm against domestic strife. If this option is exercised, Hong Kong would be completely bypassed by the Chinese Defense Ministry.

Any move by Beijing aggressively to suppress the people of Hong Kong’s demand for the full implementation of their democratic rights would further hobble foreign investment, thereby seriously eroding the economic blueprint of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. A military solution would render meaningless Xi’s flowery rhetoric of a “win-win” international system, and reveal it as part of its scheme to fulfill its global hegemonic ambitions. Mainland and archipelago Southeast Asian nations would likely seek alternatives to Chinese regional leadership. One such alternative might be a U.S. Indo-Pacific community of nations.

In addition, any crackdown on the protesters in Hong Kong would likely dissuade Taiwan, and likely everyone else, from considering support for Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policy to solve the island’s standoff with the mainland’s People’s Republic.

China’s ruling Communist Party might decide , therefore, that an armed suppression of the Hong Kong demonstrations would be too costly, economically, politically and in terms of public relations. If so, the Xi administration may decide, instead, to tamp down the spiraling crisis, by ordering Lam to meet with protest leaders and agree to shelve extradition legislation and to establish a commission to investigate local police brutality — both original demands of the protestors.

Although such a maneuver could benefit Xi’s reputation internationally, his rivals within the Communist Party might criticize him for what they would consider to be acts of weakness and capitulation to the protesters, possibly encouraging what Xi might consider the greatest threat: opposition from his own 1.5 billion people on the mainland, who might also secretly be wishing for more freedom in their lives. China is a totalitarian power that cannot brook any source of independent thinking. Fearing that the Hong Kong protests could prove contagious, Beijing is more likely to crush, rather than cede, to the protesters.

Xi may assess that any opprobrium endured by Beijing if it used force against the protesters would dissipate, just as it did 30 years ago when former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the 1989 massacre of student protesters in Tiananmen Square.

As China continues ostensibly to weigh its options, then, any optimism on the part of the protesters and the West appears to be premature.

The real “elephant in the room” not being addressed, however, is what the Hong Kong protests are really about: 2047, when Hong Kong is supposed to be handed over to China without any “one country, two systems” protection. What then?


Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

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Tim
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Tim

Stopped reading after “China used fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter…”. We know that this author is an agent of USA propaganda after reading that, that is, if we didn’t already know. Why is the Duran publishing this anti China nonsense? Whose agenda are you following?

Much Ado About Nothing
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Much Ado About Nothing

Everybody uses fake accounts, US, UK too, mostly even I’d wager. They just don’t like competition. Facebook’s just cutting off its nose to spite its face with its ‘selective fakery’ freepasses.

Hegemonic Fever
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Hegemonic Fever

Ha Ha, he ends the drama with ‘what about 2047? What happens then?”

That’s the cue for his ‘pre-emptive strike’ partners to come on stage, pre-empting a potential problem for them in 28 years. You have to admire the way these devious little minds of theirs work, for form if not content..

Bente Petersen
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Bente Petersen

Disgusting ”analysis”… The Duran should hold themselves too good for such…

Antipropo
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Antipropo

Really?!! Rumsfeld’s “Iran desk man”!! That’s who you get to ” to address a Chinese issue. By the way, RT are reporting”protesters” hurling petrol bombs at police.

Jack_Garbo
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Jack_Garbo

Dick Cheney was in for another heart bypass job so Dr Franklin volunteered. Not as incisive as Cheney but gets the US pint across.

Zhuangzi
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Zhuangzi

The initial demand of the protest, repeal of the ELAB extradition bill, has already been met. However, the protest movement has been hijacked by highly organized Triad crime syndicates (their anything-but-grassroots propensity for violence reminds me of the Venezuelan Guarimbas), who are prompted by the US National Endowment for Destabilization (NED). Both the Triads and the US want a return of Hong Kong to being a narco state as it was under British Colonial rule. That is why you see protestors waving the flag of British Colonial Hong Kong. What we are witnessing is the de facto Third Opium War.

Bill
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Bill

Mr Franklin is making propaganda not real analysis. The foreign-controlled protestors will keep upping their demands until China must intervene.

The purpose of the protests is to force China to act, thereby causing harm to itself. China will prepare the public to understand what is happening and then crush the insurrection. This scenarios is reasonable.

Terry
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Terry

A quick check on the 2008 created Gatestone Institute (the source of this article), revealed that no lesser bastion of truth and fair play than JOHN BOLTON had been its chairman, from 2013 to March 2018

padre
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padre

I just love this western analysis!By default, China is bad, and we are good, and then we analyze, what “bad China’s” options are!

M droy
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M droy

1. Someone needs to do a count again. We know that 1.7m was actually about 150k protestors. But even now we accept reports of 10s of thousands protestors every day when there are no pictures of more than dozens. The protests are over, only a few hardline (probably US paid) guys are left with violence as a distraction from the tiny numbers. 2. The popular protest has nothing to do with China as such. It is the same as US or UK – it is the bottom half who can’t afford property near good jobs, whose wages are unchanged over… Read more »

Topolcats
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If I were China I would not go in with troops. I would make the population turn among themselves. It is already happening, turn the screws, even more, the blame game will start even sooner. Electricity, water & gas (apart for some water catchments) come from Guangdong. Food 90% of it comes from the PRC. OH Yes the PRC has some button to play with. Trump is sanctioning food, electricity to Iran and Venezuela, Syria etc China can do the same as the democratic USA. Let those protestors ask America for food, electricity, gas and water. Let see what happens?… Read more »

Vic
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Vic

Ummm.., that sounds like fighting the fire with gasoline. That’s how the French revolution started, bunch of starving people starting to guillotine the rich aristocrats…

Topolcats
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The HK goose is already cooked by the actions of these prostestors.

Topolcats
Guest

All you need to do is pay Duran and any fascist can post articles. But then the adage never trust a Greek bearing gifts rings through.

Antonio Carlos Cordeiro de Carvalho
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Antonio Carlos Cordeiro de Carvalho

It’s time for China to put an end in this special administrative area by force.

And close the doors to the criminal interference of the Empire on China internal affairs.

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