The riot police fires tear gas after a march calling for democratic reform in Hong Kong.
Edgar Su | Reuters
Beijing will give an official response at 3:00 pm to the continuing protests in Hong Kong. Local time on Monday.
Eight weeks ago, demonstrations began in the city against a legislative push that allowed Hong Kong people to be extradited to mainland China. However, they have become a movement for full democracy and autonomy from Beijing. [1
As tensions escalate, Chinese observers are waiting to see how Beijing will respond. According to Ben Bland, director of the Southeast Asia project of the Sydney-based think tank of the Lowy Institute, there are three possible scenarios of how the demonstrations could proceed from here.
Three directions that could head to Hong Kong from here:
- Authorities wait for protesters
- Beijing intervenes directly, impose martial law
- Authorities make significant concessions
The most likely outcome, Bland said, is that Beijing and Hong Kong will try to wait for the protests and arrest the leaders of the rally after the momentum slows down and "slowly fixes the city".
It is unlikely but possible for the mainland authorities to intervene directly, Bland said, explaining that Beijing could exercise martial law, but that would be the end of "one country, two systems". This concept was promised to Hong Kong in the reunification of the former British colony with the mainland and guarantees that the city maintains a separate economic and legal system.
If Beijing would send the People's Liberation Army into the streets of Hong Kong to "stabilize the situation (as it was proposed last week), according to Jackson Wong, asset manager director at Amber Hill Capital, the situation should be 'highly negative Such a move would "break many beliefs that Hong Kong is autonomous," adding that "investors would probably initially flee."
Wong reiterated Blands assessment, saying that "the situation in Hong Kong is not good. But we do not need the PLA in Hong Kong to some extent. "
On the other hand, the Chinese authorities could make" real concessions "and allow Hong Kong's full democracy – the right to fully vote for their own parliament and leaders – that's what many protesters demand, Bland said.
One The day after demonstrators stormed the Parliament building, demonstration leaders issued a statement with five demands: a complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition law, a revocation of the movement's characterization as "insurrection," a revocation of the indictment against extradition, the establishment of an independent committee to investigate the use of force The role of the Chief Executive Officer and his Legislature until 2020.
Some experts have pointed out that there was not a single protester with whom the authorities were dealing but Bland said that was not the problem. In the end, the Chinese mainland government has shown no interest in negotiating a resolution.
"There is still no sign from Beijing or the Hong Kong government that they are prepared to make significant concessions beyond the suspension of the extradition law," Bland said.
Sean King, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Park Strategies, a business development strategy company, offered a similar analysis to Bland.
King cited the mass murders of democracy-friendly student protesters in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago, saying, "Beijing will have no moral misgivings about getting the military to intervene." , But such an act "would lose the people of Hong Kong once and for all," said King.
He expects the protests to continue for weeks or even months before agreement can be reached. The reason why Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Officer, has not yet resigned, King said, if she resigns, would mean that Beijing will admit defeat.
"That would give way to the masses," said King. He added that it is conceivable that citizens of Beijing, Shanghai and other mainland cities would like the same if the mainland authorities give Hong Kong what they want, what a full democracy is.
Signals from Beijing
Protests have attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters in the city and abroad. What began as a peaceful demonstration reached a turning point after a small group of extreme protesters stormed the Hong Kong Legislative Building.
Beijing increasingly signals displeasure over the situation in Hong Kong. Last week protests ravaged the national emblem in the Hong Kong Chinese Liaison Office and Beijing responded with the charges that the actions constituted an "obvious challenge to the central government" that could not be tolerated.
"The problem was really the pressure on Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy," Bland said. He added that over the last five or ten years there has been "relentless and concerted pressure" that has had a significant impact on the backlash, as people believe that not only their rights, but also their identity and lifestyle are compromised Pressure.
Bland added that the anger of the Hong Kong people on Lam calm was based on the feeling that the Hong Kong government was not on the side of the population. Under the current system, the city leader is chosen from a pre-approved list.
In the meantime, Beijing has pointed its fingers to enemy external forces and accused US and European politicians of intervening in China's "internal affairs"
In another article, the newspaper called the demonstrations "illegal gatherings" and "a clear demonstration of the protesters' total defiance" of the law. "The political turmoil in Hong Kong is similar to what has been sparked in the Middle East and North Africa – local anti-government elements working with outside forces to overthrow governments that are in power Using modern communication technologies to spread rumors, mistrust, and fear. "
Bland, in turn, said such allegations were" not very convincing, but the Chinese government stuck to this line. "Yet, he added," Beijing does not. " strong signs that they want a direct intervention. "
He added hinz "The lack of explicit mainland intervention is partly due to the fact that it is appropriate for Beijing to have the government of Hong Kong and the government of Beijing. The Hong Kong police at the front line are picking up all these problems. It keeps it local rather than explicitly making it a national crisis.
– Weizhen Tan and Vivian Kam from Reuters and CNBC contributed to this report.