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

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 Replies to “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. The CCP could keep their word and abide by the treaty. Or, they could adopt a Hong Kong style independent judiciary. . . NAH! They'd rather nuke the whole island and kill millions in a flash. That's the way Communism rolls.

  3. Look at these Hong Kong police beating up a 62 years old injured patient in Tuen Mun Public Hospital casualty unit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyZev_rlvIQ&t=111s
    1) slap on the face; 2) suffocation with a wet towel; 3) scratching on the eyes; and 4) punching on his genital for 28 minutes.

  4. All China has to do is nothing. Let the protest die out. Hong Kong depends on its economy for autonomy. The protesters are only hurting themselves.
    Many Hong Kongers are going to oppose the protesters once it lasts long enough. They want a return to normal.
    And when that happens and Hong Kong quiets down, then China will quietly move in an restrict autonomy further.
    China knows damn well that the protesters WANT China to intervene like in Tiananmen, the protesters want that publicity for foreign eyes.

  5. These stupid liberal Americans should open up their CNN brainwashed eyes and notice that these Chinese are fighting AGAINST the same policy that these Libtards in America WANT.

  6. Chinese citizens kind of "trade" their political rights and liberty for a better life, and they definitely get it. There are NO other countries that can improve the life quality of its people so fast in the world.
    Still, Chinese citizens desire and fight for their political rights and liberty. However, they will NEVER NEVER give up their life quality for it.
    So you see, before the HK riots, Chinese people complained to their government about the great firewall, financial scam, food safety and so on. But after the HK riots, they
    put down the complaint and unit under the banner of CCP.

  7. CORRECTED & EDITED TEXT- The Economist editors were out to lunch…
    ★ The Hong Kong protests are the most serious challenge to the Communist

    Party's authority since the Tiananmen Square massacre. China's leaders

    must choose between two mortal dangers: the collapse of economic

    stability, or the acceptance that protests can limit the party’s

    absolute power.

    This protester calls himself “Bruce”.

    We have hidden his face and obscured his voice to protect his identity.

    He is one of the millions of Hong Kongers who took to the streets.

    What started as a protest against an extradition bill has become the

    most serious challenge to the Communist Party’s authority since the

    Tiananmen Square protests three decades ago.

    As the demonstrations enter the third month neither the government nor

    the protesters are willing to back down.

    But it’s not enough to deter the demonstrators. So what happens now?

    Hong 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 is even a boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China and

    one needs 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 China.

    With 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 the

    the pro-Chinese committee and the city was guaranteed a high degree of

    autonomy with its own government, its own 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 China.

    China’s grip has become ever tighter.

    In 2012 the government attempted 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 mainland.

    All this is fuelling the protesters’ anger.

    As the protests become larger and more violent the potential of China

    intervening increases.

    Beijing has made thinly veiled threats to send in its military forces

    – the People’s Liberation Army.

    In 1989 a student demonstration in Beijing ended in a 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 defiance.

    Another fear is some protesters’ demand for full independence.

    But military intervention would be a very risky strategy for Beijing

    In 1993 Hong Kong’s GDP accounted for more than a quarter of mainland

    China. Today, China’s remarkable rise means that Hong Kong’s economic

    output makes up less than 3% of the mainland.

    Moreover, Hong Kong remains important for China.

    Multinational Corporations use it as a launchpad to the mainland and

    it gives Chinese companies access to the rest of the world.

    So how the turmoil is resolved matters to more than just the people

    of Hong Kong.

    This all comes at a time when China and 'United States' of 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 trouble.

    For China, the situation has become much more than a dispute over a law.

    It has become an existential threat.

    Bruce and the other protesters are holding their breath.

    For more from Economist Films visit: http://films.economist.com/

    Check out The Economist’s full video catalogue: http://econ.st/20IehQk

  8. No its not a challenge to Beijing. Beijing dont give a shit. They let them kill each other in hk . Why bother worrying.

  9. Chinese Taiwanese all know love and I wish you stop war with brothers and sisters . China please don't help dogs USA . USA mothersfuckers hate china.

  10. How can one be sure that these protests are not inspired and orchestrated by the U.S? Just as it was in Ukraine?

  11. Look, it's not really a nightmare for the BJ govt. It's a conflict among different classes in HK. BJ just sit tight and watch. Poor HK police though, they have to do the hard work and get blamed by everyone.

  12. Why would you build up Hong Kong over many years through blood sweat and tears , only to hand it over , assets and all , to the biggest bunch of bloodthirsty THUGS on the planet ?!

  13. after some days battle in Internet. I knew that the westerns will never respect each other and hope us better. They just glad to see we have more troubles. So i will not argue with anyone any more. Caus that make none results and not any sense. They will always stand the opposite to make us worse. Then they will feel self better. What we need to do: Just make our army stronger and do our works better to make our country better and be careful with the westens.

  14. Eh, as much as I dislike the CCP I can't see these protests going anywhere. Hong Kong is already to integrated with China to become independent.

  15. shouldn’t Britain be helping Hong Kong gain back its rights? Even without their help , Hong Kong citizens are strong and determined to fight of China government !

  16. how funny the media only shoots protesters instead of normal citizens. my friend lives in HK telling the number of protesters is exaggerated by most media, especially from west. most people have no interest in 'arab spring' , just want quiet and peaceful life as before…

  17. 额,你们的基础是错的,北京真的不在意香港怎么乱,因为破坏不到基本盘,真的破坏不到,香港和天安门的地位差远了

  18. As a person having lived in a country where freedom is taken for granted, i believe everyone need to have a right to voice their own opinions and those should not be restrained whatsoever just under the simple name of “disagreement”.
    In the era of flooding mixed information, i’m afraid to say which is true for sure without witnessing it directly.
    But, am supportive of Honkongers for an action itself of freely voicing out their opinions. Just hope ppls dont get hurt too much in the meanwhile and everything can get solved peacefully without casualties.

  19. It is just another proxy war between China and US. People choose what they believe based on their own interest. The US/Westerners have reasons to believe it is an issue of democracy (or pretend to), but Chinese believe it is an issue of national sovereignty and economic rights. So don't waste y our time propaganda, no use to Chinese people any more.

  20. Don't let the dislike minions get you down; they only get paid a couple yuan per dislike and are just trying to put food on the table.

  21. We should offer support to the protesters. The Chinese government in Peking uses force everywhere they go. They push around their neighbors and are trying to lay claim to the whole ocean. Thing will only change when we all become like the protesters in Hong Kong. We can all start by not buying anything made in China.

  22. China has shown in the past that it has no problem with killing its own people by the millions. The only question is if China's desire for a more powerful position in the world is greater than it's desire for total control over its population?

  23. GOD BLESS THE HONGKONGERS, EMBRACE DEMOCRACY AND DEFEAT THE OPPRESSIVE CHINA, GO AGAINST CENSORSHIP AND FIGHT FOR ENLIGHTENMENT AND INFORMATION.

  24. The so called freedom is the freedom to criticize China. The so called democracy is just a way to ruin the countries like Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Libya… hahahaha

  25. The CCP it's reaching and existential crisis and I feel that if the protest continue, or spreads to other parts of China, that the CCP will send in troops to crush the protesters, whatever the cost might be. To the Chinese Communist total control will always the more important than economic growth.

  26. The real problem is that HK will be governed by communist mainland in 2047. Here is the history.

    Mainland is communist while Hong Kong has a limited democracy. Both share President Xi Jinping of China as their chief of state. However, each has its own head of government. At midnight on June 30/July 1, 1997, the crown colony of Hong Kong officially reverted to Chinese sovereignty, ending 156 years of British rule. Great Britain had acquired Hong Kong Island from China in 1842, when the Treaty of Nanking was signed at the end of the first Opium War (1839-42).

    "The Basic Law" came into effect on 1 July 1997 in Hong Kong when the sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, replacing Hong Kong's colonial constitution of the Letters Patent and the Royal Instructions

    The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is the constitution of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and a national law of the People's Republic of China comprising nine chapters, 160 articles and three annexes, the Basic Law was adopted on 4 April 1990 by the Seventh National People's Congress and signed by President Yang Shangkun.

    Under The Basic Law, Hong Kong would continue its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years after 1997, ending in 2047 and then coming under mainland's rule.

    Hong Kong defers to mainland China in two primary areas: military defense and international relations. Hong Kong may not maintain its own military; the mainland manages the military defense of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may not maintain any separate diplomatic ties with foreign countries.

    Recent protests explained:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RdnVtfZPY&feature=youtu.be

    Hong Kong missing book sellers:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMmHksSxpHQ&feature=youtu.be

  27. this video is showing fake news to mislead Unknown the truth of the masses。The unscrupulous media controls the behavior of public opinion is apparently not democracy!!

  28. Beware of the Chinese Empire with fascistic authoritarian tendencies. In what kind of communism does the ruling elite have billions of dollars in personal wealth.

  29. It’s clear
    Get the fuck out of the country now/relocate or give in to 2047.
    China is the borg, skynet, the matrix….it’s ugly

  30. THANKS GOD ALL ALMIGHTY THIS IS NOT A " FUCKING FAKE LIARS CNN NEEEEWS ". THANK YOU SOOO MUCH SHARING YOUR VIDEO. GOD BLESS THOSE PEOPLE OF HONGKONG BEGGING FOR THEIR " FREEDOM " TO LIVE IN HONGKONG AGAINST BARBARIC EVIL COMMUNISTS CHINESE GOVERNMENT.

  31. HK people did not allow to protest under British colony, HK people did not have any voting rights under British, now your F**king Brits use human right to criticize China? Give me a break !

  32. lol HK low IQ idiots celebrate as the UK leaves in 99.. gone are the dictators and oppressors they scream.. now you are screaming for those same people to take you in.. hypocrites, you made your bed, now deal with it. ( spoiler alert; HK, you are fucked lol, love it)

  33. What made Tony Blaire think the chines would keep their word, up to the UK intervein and stand by HK agreement, now the UK got rid of a weak leader lets see what the replacement is made of, china bullied the last one by threats by saying, UK don't interfere. Blood will flow down the streets if the UK and only the UK stand by the HK people and the agreement signed.

  34. My be the Rightful owner of the land the earth 🤲🏽🌎🌍🌏 not China the rifle owner God sent his youngest the prince 🤴🏽last royals line he not Jesus .The prince doesn’t know Jesus and don’t care because he will be coming to fix the planet for his father. The prince has more power than Jesus he moves the sky the earth. The phoenix rising is the prince 🦅🤴🏽🙏🏾 President Donald Trump has the prince 🤴🏽 on speed dial. Hong Kong will be set free from China democracy and all the people right come first before government Freedom is gods will.

  35. This has the very real possibility of starting an all out civil war in china. And I Pray they rise up and take their country back from their oppressive leaders.

  36. The red fist of the chinese government will spill blood of the innocent before it gives up any of its power over the free people. Just as it has done many times before. One day they will pay.

  37. The Chinese support Hong Kong people's willingness to March and appeal to themselves in a legitimate and civilized way, but the Chinese also firmly support the law. During the march, some of them destroyed the Chinese flag and take the flag was thrown into the sea. and graffiti to destroy the Legislative Council. Now they are demanding five appeals, the most important of which is to elect Hong Kong's Chief Executive by universal suffrage.demanded the release of those arrested for attacking the police. We all know China is led by the Communist Party of China. Many of them(HongKongers) even think that they are realizing their political aspirations through bloodshed, just like the Communist Party of China at that time.At that time, the Communist Party took part in the War of Resistance Against Japan and fought for the country and the people. After that, the struggle between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang belonged to partisan struggle. Who are the people of Hong Kong fighting for now? Who are their enemies? What does this mean?
    Of course, the Chinese people support the legitimate aspirations of the Hong Kong people. China will never give up Hong Kong, but only if they do the right thing.

    Is this freedom? Is this human rights?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXWnA41_leI&t=79s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeM7C9uropY

  38. wtf, it was just an ordinary Bill to extradict Criminals to each other. Why are people making such a fuss about this unimportant stuff?? All those Demonstrators are not even targetted by this Bill

  39. First they came for the Tibetans and I did not speak out—because I was not a Tibetan!

    Then they came for the Uyghurs and I did not speak out— because I was not a Uyghur!

    Then they came for the Falun Gong and I did not speak out—because I was not a Falun Gong!

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Stand united, stand strong Hongkongers, remain peaceful and never give up!

    From your friends in Canada!

  40. poor people dont have much chance. there founders never gave them a system to defend themselves from a malicious government. im glad americans have guns. without these main tools we cannot truely defend ourselves and cause change. yes its death involved BUT sometimes it takes drastic matters to create change. i see civil war happening in america at times. hong kong is not the only country under government depression unfortunately. Trump is really fucking up shit over here.

  41. Britain should have given Hong Kongers citizenship a longgggggggggg time ago. What betrayal. Hong Kongers love freedom, Western values, democracy, hard work, initiative and rule of law. That is an asset to Britain, where terrorists run amok. There is still time for Britain to redeem itself in this regard.

  42. Who is funding this Color Revolution? Probably Israel and the Jewish bankers who want to control their banking, just as they did with Iraq, Libya, and are trying to do with Iran. This entire video is sponsored propaganda by Israeli bankers. Who benefits? The banks. This is not investigative journalism. It is a commercial.

  43. Socialism / Communism has always been a failure, its just a matter of time before it goes down the toilet. I do not buy any china made products. The people of Hong Kong will need to leave that land in order to have freedom !

Leave a Reply

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