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

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

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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 comments

  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. The only mistake they are making is they aren't using anti-tank missiles. America's ancestors told their oppressors "Given me liberty or give me Death" – American patriot Patrick Henry

  3. We should encourage Japan and the Philippines to support Hong Kong. For if the US is caught doing it, will only make things worse. We should arm the people of Hong Kong as well.. Britain never should have given them back.. awful.

  4. As an international center, Hong Kong is supported by national policies, and the surrounding environment is uniquely endowed. It has a good interaction with the mainland and has played a key role. The reason for the current situation is that the per capita income has doubled since the reunification. The main problem lies in the flicker of the "democratic faction". Good policies can't be settled, and the opportunities for development are all ruined by themselves. The arrival of Luke is both an opportunity and a challenge. With your savvy and tact, you have done the most stupid thing. In addition, mainland investment or local wealthy businessmen speculate on real estate. The people’s resentment is boiling, and the Hong Kong Government has a good response. The result is being fooled. Who is it? Why is there no problem for Beijing, shanghai and guangzhou? Instead, the better you do. The outbreak of this issue is also an opportunity. I think the people of Hong Kong may still be unable to grasp it. Learn Singapore and Macau well, and use their ancestors to leave you with "Benevolence, Righteousness and Wisdom, Polite and Honesty", hope Hong Kong tomorrow be better! GOD BLESS HONG KONG!

  5. For the record:

    The USA does NOT promote freedom and peace!

    When it comes to freedom – the USA still suffers from tons of systemic racism against its own kind, do the ethnic minorities of the US experience freedom from their systemic racism? No! The blacks, Latinx, and Muslim communities still experience systemic hatred, prejudice, and discrimination against them. The suppression of White Terrorism as a thing in your nation is disgusting. The gun violence, opium crisis, and so many other crimes against humanity you've conducted is simply and absolutely ridiculous.

    Now as for peace? Don't make me laugh there you American infidel – you say you promote peace and yet you have the largest international network of military bases, you sell weapons to militant groups, you destabilized the Middle East, you invaded the Middle East FOR OIL, you and your CIA have set up puppet governments, you've done so many horrible, terrible, and evil things to other countries of this world, I don't even know where to begin and where to end.

    Oh and freedom to other countries? Don't even get me started – you don't care about freedom and peace from a global standpoint at all, what with your international espionage that the NSA had conducted – thank you Snowden. There's more to be said overall, but…

    Stop being a hypocrite USA.

    Stop being a hypocrite.

    Stop being a hypocrite, period.

    Cease and desist being a hypocrite.

    Cease and desist.

    Cease and desist being a hypocrite, period.

    End your evil ways, USA.

    End your evil ways.

    End your evil ways, USA, period.

  6. The power of communist party doesn't depend on one city with 8 million people, it comes from all 1.4 Chinese. HK's wealth comes from previous opium trading (beginning), China's only trading window to the west (50s-60s) and manufacturing industry (70s-80s). HK's rich invest real estate but not high-tech, the chance of becoming Korea or Japan is gone. Shanghai and other cities are taking the position of trading port, just like 20s and 30s. In economy, it's only a matter of time for HK to become a ordinary Chinese city. Today's protest won't improve their living standard, but in the future, at least they will have something to blame.

  7. Britain created hong kong democracy , so Britain should be negotiating for the best solution with china . britain has an obligation

  8. no need to fight now, everything back to China's 100% rule in 2047.  The foreign interventions, yes we know USA is behind these riots, are ruining HK future and its people for their own political gains.  People in HK already enjoy more freedom than your bias media claimed.

  9. The UK is paying protesters to protest, as a Chinese I'm sad and dissapointed to see people giving up their own country for money. HK is going to regret separating from China.
    Plus, they're only showing what the Chinese Government is doing, but not what HK is doing. More precisely, the protesters

  10. Everyone have right to Rebel the system if the system can't provide the good to their peoples

  11. It is ridiculous that China has extradited criminals in its own territory as a public enemy of the free world, but the United States can use the extradition law to require Canada to randomly arrest other citizens.

  12. Why the video doesn’t show what the protests do to the city and Hong Kong Police.The protests is destroying the city.This is not democracy

  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhMbbcKavNk
    if you want to know more HK situation ,please watch this video .
    FIVE DEMANDS,NO ONE LESS
    WE DO NOT WANT TO BE INDEPENDENT ,WE WANT JUSTICE!!!!!!

  14. Fuck china
    Fuck winnie the pooh
    Fuck communists
    And fuck the bugs who think tiawan, hong kong, tibet, inner mongolia and east turkestan are part of china

  15. As a Chinese in Mainland China, I was overwhelmed by the amount of negative portraits of Chinese government in HK and even believed some of them. But now when looking back, how funny and even silly it is to believe that Chinese people are living in a bitter and harsh world. More and more people from all over the world come to China to seek their dreams for better salary and living standards. Our pocket is getting deeper and deeper. we can go anywhere we want to go and choose wherever we want to live. Do not talk about the vague human rights when there are still people suffering from war, hunger and diseases. The best human rights are to give people right to make their life better. In China, even you are from rural area, you can enjoy free education, quite affordable health care provided by government. We trust our government and the government has put people's welfare as their top priority. You think it is cool to judge the government like in America, but do you know how much power money can have on American government. To Quote WeiWei Zhang, 10 trillionaires can kidnap American government whereas 100 billionaires can hardly shake Chinese government. That is why those capitalist guru is so scared of communist party. CCP wants equality and fairness in society meanwhile we also introduce market to boost our economy.

  16. I feel sorry for Hongkongers. It will be very painful to realize that they are actually abandoned. Just to share with you, SHZ people are very grateful for these 'brave protesters' who help the central government make the final decision to give up endless sacrifice and shift focus on SHZ. If you want to know how much China has done for HK, take a look at 1998 and 2008 economic crisis, how come HK survived, a city with no agriculture, industry but only bubble trade economy. How much did it cost on Chinese tax payers. Thank you very much! Hong Kong is just like a spoiled kid.

  17. Free Hong Kong ! Free China!
    Free to wear whatever you want!
    Carrie Lam committed human right abuse crime to deny Hong Kong people to defend pollution by wearing mask.
    All of her money abroad should be lock up and she should be arrested when travelling abroad.

  18. People in Hong Kong who demand ‘democracy’ hit a man on his face just because he said ‘we are all Chinese’. Applause for ‘western democracy’. 🙃

  19. Don't forget the corrupt Chinese Communist government official sent their police/troops to disguise as violent protester or police to incite violence!! So that they can KILL HK people with its justified cause!! There some Chinese are evil like that!! So we need the US pass the bill to go after those same corrupt official who steal money from its own people!!

  20. The “ I am not Chinese syndrome " of Hong Kong English people is spreading. They are becoming the sick men and women of East Asia. England must accept them as refugees in order to protect their rights. What a shame to England, leaving those poor English citizens in China. Shame to England! How dare the politicians in England left their citizens. Shame to the British.

  21. Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet and Autonomous region of Inner Mongolia should all just secede from China and join up with Taiwan and form their own country.

  22. 5:39 is actully a pro-government protest. Notice all the Chinese flags they were waving. And they are in light colored shirts. And talk scares all you want, China did it in 89, what's following is 30 yrs of non-stopping rapid development.

  23. There is going to be a war. When people get tired of being in shackles the only thing they'll rally together and fight for is their freedom. If history has shown us anything it's that freedom is always paid for in blood.

  24. You could simply say ‘Chinese leadership’ instead of “Chinese communist leadership”. I don’t think you put capitalist in any sentence you use to describe western countries. The bias can’t be more obvious.

  25. Its funny how some HK people think they are so much more special than rest of Chinese while their GDP is about less than 3% of Chinese overall economy. No matter wherever in the world, Hong Kong people will alway always be thought as Chinese. Not HongKongnese, Not British, but Chinese. That's the truth. Truly sad to see how everything just keep deteriorating in HK. God bless HK.

  26. All of the warriors of Independence of North Ireland, Scotland, Welsh, let us join together to fight against the brutal tyranny. The Brixt is the best opportunity. Wake up! Fight for your freedom!

  27. The communist government abuses taxpayers’ money to brainwash civilians to strictly follow communist party values. This party brainwash Children from primary school to university via curriculum even when they work. Their theory is that political party is their country, if you don’t like the ruling party, you’re the traitor. These miseducated population doesn’t have common sense of human being.

  28. China using Propaganda in order to subdue Hong Kong. How very sad in this day and age. Hong Kong has a right to be independent!

  29. This will only foreshadowed the more chaos that is to come in 2047 as Hong Kong will definitely fight against China for there freedoms. It’s going to be a painful year in 2047 as there might be a war taking place.

  30. It is very suspicious that a consul from the us embassy in Hong Kong meets with the pro independent group. She meddles with China internal affair.

  31. 香港人自己成功消灭自己在华人圈和世界的优越感,优势资源和制度优越感。可悲可叹,这就是反面教材。全体国人的反面教材。明明是资本主义政商结合的恶果,却被引导成种族主义,反中国,反法律 ,暴力

  32. anything threat USA or British authority will be crushed as well. Hong kong no longer special, product life cycle already fall into decline part. Hong Kong need to find new position in global business. Hong kong protestors are nothing but traitor, if they don’t want to be Chinese I believe British and American will accept them as refugee. I don’t understand why they don’t leave and be part of western country.

  33. I've seen the whole video, the tank just passed by and the pedestrian is not hurt at all. Intentionally made video. apparently political aims

  34. for 156 years when the Brits ruled HK, they never had democracy and much less elections. Now these kids think that that was a golden era when they had freedom and democracy. Looks like the would much rather be ruled by a white governor appointed by a foreign queen.

    HK's economy did spectacularly in the past because China was closed to the world. Countries traded with China not directly, but through HK. Now that China is open for business, there is much less need for HK. The HK economy has suffered and the young feel left out because the HK governments polices has let them been priced out of ever owning a home. This is the root of the dissatisfaction HK people. But they somehow have been led to equate the current bad times with Chinese rule, and the roaring good times with British rule.

    Instead of understanding this, and working with the Central Government to tranform its role within Greater China, HK people still believe their prosperity was solely due to laissez-faire economics, or democracy or some other airy fairy idea.

    The HK government too has failed to understand this fundamental fact and therefore has not adapted to the new situation. Instead, it has allowed its young people to become disaffected and worse still, become used as pawns by the US in its superpower struggle with China. There can only be a downward spiral till people become humble enough to face their situation with brutal honesty.

  35. 6:41 Ahhhh so thats why hk is a mess now. Some of its leaders think too highly of its city. They think china will follow their demand.

    And this also…show the foresight of china's leaders by preparing shanghai n shenzhen to take over hk's functions.

  36. This video interviewed and talked about opinions from one side of the argument only. I am not sure how this is different from the so called controlled media all the Western media claim the CCP enforced in mainland China. Also, for a lot of the comments I read from this video, you talk about fighting for freedom and democracy and the sacrifice one must go through to achieve them. To be honest, the African warlord must have said the same thing when they motivate their "freedom fighters" to slaughter women and children.

  37. If this report is true and speaking for the right, how to explain why police and some random people who just say “no” on the street to these protestors have been violently hit? How to explain these so called protestors damage the Metro facilities over and over again? I am right now in Hong Kong and am being so “lucky” to witness all these in the last three months. Even you are not in HK, the truth could easily be searched through YouTube. Hope everything will get better soon and every protestor has a chance to stop the mistake to use violence!Please stop the violence towards your own hometown and your own ppl! Please stand up and do something good for HK!

  38. "But after 1997, Britain gave it back to China."Isn't that amazing, manipulate viewers with such a gentle touch?

  39. Wherever British colonist was forced to leave, they left with seeds of calamity behind them. Britain deliberately sabotaged the transference of Hong Kong and created a democratic agenda that sparked today's riots. A genius idea they never come up with during their 1.5 century of shameless colonist rule. Now they stand aside and chant for violence and blood spilling.

  40. Honk Kong will create up rest in mainland China see it as out side attack to sabatage China. This could create war warning

  41. Shit media don't show riots and destroy without difference. Beating anyone who are not holding same value. Shame on you.

  42. They don't even produce their own electricity no fuel supplies of their own. Hong Kong won't even survive own its own.

  43. How much independence do they want. They are already demonstrating like this imagine this kind of demonstration in London or New York or Delhi the government their wouldn't have tolerated and would have crushed it. Yes outside world is sponsoring it and a small country known as united Kingdom is one of them.

  44. For those who really want to understand what's actually happening in HK now:
    protestors have destroyed certain MTR facilities (certain stations have been severely destroyed), and then MTR decided to close MTR to repair the destroyed components (not sure if the western media show the picture of destroyed stations or not but there is a lot of pics available on HK media, not Mainland Chinese media), and protestors attack the MTR staff members for not opening MTR station (but think about why the staff close it).
    Apart from MTR, a lot of restaurants, shops, banks have also been severely damaged by protestors.
    And, I know a lot of media portrayed how HK police treat protestors, however, most videos on western media only show a part of the story, and have taken out the part how protestors assault, provoke and attack police.
    I understand that it's really hard to see the full and true story, but, pls, do some research before you choose a side/stance (for those people saying that stand with HK), coz when you have a side, you always tend to rationalize whatever people on your side are doing.
    Last but not least, freedom of speech and expression should definitely be respected and protected, but such freedoms are not absolute, check out ICCPR if anyone have question (article 12 probably).
    No abuse of such freedoms.

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  46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nDCnR7tgV8Hong Kong police were found in the closed subway station. Some subway stations were set on fire, which the Police accused were set by the protesters. However, some incident indicated that the fire may be set by Hong Kong police. Many evidence showed that Liberty Army or Mainland Police were mixed in the Hong Kong Police forces during the crack down.

  47. You want freedom, so you make others free of metro?
    You want personal safety, so you protest and even hurt innocent citizens?
    You want the rule of law??? OK, if that can be called 'legal', I'm speechless🙄.

  48. Hong Kong think highly of themselves too much. They even think China can't run without them… Well, that might be true 30 years ago. See Shenzhen nearby, if Hong Kong continue to protest, Chinese government may leave it alone and make Shenzhen another Hong Kong, even greater.

  49. i dont understand why the governments of the west sit by and do nothing about HK. After Nazi Germany the west swore they would never let it happen again. Well its happening in China, it happened with Tibetans, it happened with FaLongGong, it happened with XinJiang and it happened to Christians. And they want to drag the upstanding citizens of Hong Kong into their cesspit system of corruption, violence, organic harvesting and suppression. NO WAY!!

  50. UK oready Not enough money maaaa…refer UK independent News " iLLumiNati Queen goes bankruptcy in 2011 n took train back hometown for merry X'Mas with 1body guard only maaaa..!!!.u all HK kids no working all depands on satanic iLLumiNati Jobs n waiting for Lunch <plus play play Hand phone games only HOW ??

  51. Videos of pro-riotor are boosting, while videos of pro-China are hidden.
    Welcome to the real word of "Democracy and Freedom of Speech".

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