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. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    – Benjamin Franklin, "Reply to the Pennsylvania Governor," November 11, 1755

  3. "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." — George Orwell, “1984”

  4. This is total propaganda it's not about democracy it's about elites facing a slight change in their lives it costs 3 Millon for a house in HK its rich kids causing this I don't feel sorry at all for them

  5. I don't get the conspiracy theorists in the comments.
    Excuse me. Isn't China acting ahead of time?
    It is? Topic closed.

  6. According to Biblical prophecies…Under the Red Dragon there will be Much Human Suffering in the End Time. Because of these Crimes Against Humanity will all the Kings of The North join together and Invade the King of the South? According to Prophecy this will happen.
    These are biblical text that go back as far as Enoch and Antiquity. But Of Course China doesn't Believe what the Bible passages say. Is this prophecy correct? Many Human Rights Violation against mankind has happened under the Red Dragon. So part of the prophecy has already begun to reign true. According to what I understand about dominion this will take place. The World is Watching.

  7. HK IS PART OF CHINA🇨🇳 .Fake news only show the one-side of the story. These black mask man beat up the visitors the polices all being video taped why rarely show in the western media .making thing up that so untruth just try to turn HK into shithole

  8. 新闻很片面,如果为民主我支持,但是为分裂,我只能打死这只白眼狼。香港是怎么发展起来的,大家都门清,如果想独立,自己先想清楚后果。

  9. But America is actually behind this. Julia Eadeh, an American political chief was found meeting protesting leaders of Hong Kong at a hotel. Hong Kong rioters also receive money from the CIA through American banks.

  10. Deterioration of freedom? Where else in the world can you shut down an airport for 2 days by having protesters occupying it, or crashing into the legislative building and destroy it and still get out without being arrested. These reporters either have not seen the world or they are doing selective reporting.

  11. Simply put. There was no democracy for HK. All bs. Foreign media is twisting facts to make the headlines forming a spear pointing at China. Greed and power is playing a huge role. Huge funds have been allocated, illegally through Hsbc to pay protesters and even DHL. We are talking hundreds of millions. Together with the Media, protesters are made to believe hkers are not chinese. They been brainwashed irreversibly. Only the older generations admit they are chinese. Face it, if protestors throw rocks and bite off fingers of a policemen in the states, they would have been shot. Why are all the media not talk about this? Be fair people. Use some sense in your reasoning.

  12. The act of terrorist = disrupt public order, destroy public properties, act of violent and beating peoples they don't agree with them. not protest but riot. don't see only on western biased news.

  13. I pray for all in H.Kong to come nicely out of this in peace,Comunists are finished for good soon and in China as well have many friends in China

  14. where on earth do you have a True democracy? anyone please, Is china a communist country? No communist are ruling over a capitalist system, justice on earth? yeah right dream on people

  15. China needs to back down and let Hong Kong alone and Taiwan as well. China needs to stop intervening their life. China you better watch out and think wisely before your whole red army will be destroyed, don't fuck with the world.

  16. China really wants to be destroyed, Japan fucked China up like a piece of shit. And America saved their ass. and now they want to act like a fucking Hitler, Hey, China do you know what happened to Hitler?? Don't even try to act like him idiot Xi Jinping. If you don't want your people to die because more people means more casualties keep that in mind. America has the technology to crush the magma, underneath the land. and your nukes will be useless because they can destroy all your electronic system.

  17. People of Hong Kong: protesting on the streets against communism and government oppresion
    Baizuo in the comments: Ackchyually

  18. Be warned American Patriots! This is what the Democrats including a few Republicans want to do with United States. They are gradually eroding the Second Amendment untill we will become easy pray and can't defend ourselves with anything but pitch forks and shovels.

  19. Funny how the Western capitalist media supports the violence but the moment it happens it the West (e.g. Germany in Hamburg), they can't stop complaining

  20. Protestors in general need to stop being brainwashed by materialistic bribes or propaganda to initiate protests. They are destroying the lives of the rest of the Hong Kong citizens, and corroding the economy that was built by the hands and hardwork of their predecessors and most importantly, bringing SHAME to themselves and Hong Kong. Go back to school and get on with life. If you really hate China for whatever reasons you have, then you are free to leave. No one ask you to stay, on the lands of China, but Chinese will NOT tolerate disruptive and derogatory protesting behaviours. These people need to go ahead to UK and US that they like so much, see if they will be welcomed with open arms. It's ez. It's free will.

  21. China has shanghai and shenzhen; hk is becoming redundant and a bad model to follow (economic inequality, crony capitalism, ineffectual politicians). Hkers only have themselves to blame

  22. None of the things that portrayed China in a negative light in your video, are actually unreasonable. Considering how Hong Kong was taken away from China via an unethical and unfair treaty. Hong Kong IS part of China. Stop portraying things in a biased way. You are just showing that you are a biased source of news and a concealer of truth. Shame on you.

  23. Speaking of the Beijing Massacre, what about the thousands of soldiers that got injured and killed by the protesters in cold blood? Just because they stood in their way of their protests, just because they tried to maintain peace and order for the rest of the citizens who wish for peace and harmony? This time round the police in Hong Kong are standing strong, they are doing fantastic. Wont back down, but also won't hurt others. Stay strong and stay safe!! Hong Kong protestors have been doxing police and their family members. And they also ransacked and bought all the possible melee asault weapons, such as walking stick and scissors pen knives etc. Cant even find them left in stores in Hong Kong in recent days. Why isn't your news reporting this side of the protests? Is that all you can do? bring up incomplete and biased historical data to back up your point that Hong Kong deserves all these protests and the so called freedom?

  24. It is not about freedom, its only a fight mobilized by the people benefited from these serious violent attack at the expenses of HK public. We want our life and order back. Please stop violence, it is not a norm in HK, never!

  25. 看看世界目前的问题,全她妈是欧洲殖民留下来的(故意的)。报道起来还她妈比谁都积极。欧洲主要的那几个国家反人类罪!自己安逸了发达了,假仁假义天天报道别人,扪心自问全她妈是你们搞的,战争份子。

  26. Free America from the rule of tyrants in WallStreet's Banks and the private Federal Reserve and its puppets Trump, Congress, Military Industrial Security Complex and Intelligence Agencies and give back the stolen $21 Trillion Dollars owed to Americans and their Gold Confiscated in 1933.

  27. This is pure Propaganda , it's insulting to the intelligence of every sane decent human being on this Earth.
    https://youtu.be/VfmR54giIJA?t=111 Opium wars?
    Let me provide the context you propagandists conveniently failed to provide:
    Britain stole Hong Kong under the treat of bombardment because the Chinese people wouldn't let Britain sell their opium(heroin) no more in China. So the Chinese People needed to be punished by any means necessary.
    So it was either give up Hong Kong or Hong Kong would be blown to bits.

  28. fuck all these mongol/hun invaders, you aint chinese or japanese or korean

  29. I thought that the Economist would be more neutral but they are as biased as everyone. During the British rule, have you ever seen Hong Kong people get to elect their own leader? This is what British does all the time, when they realize that they can no longer keep the territory then they starts to creates problems (India and Pakistan), (Israel and Palestine). British government is the most disgusting and patronizing sons of b**ches I've ever seen. I hope that they can truly consider Northern Ireland Independence after all, because you know, you should always respect people's willing. If they don't want to stay in Britain, then British government should allow North Ireland to be a free Independent nation.

  30. HK is always China! Ask the ordinary HKers who lived under British rule and see if anyone wants to go back. LEARN HISTORY, TRAITORS!

  31. What moral high ground does UK has to comment and interfere in HK issue now? As a colonial power before, UK is no different from an Invader of other people's land. Did UK ever let the HK people choose their own governor before? What democracy are you trying to propound now? You're just as hypocrite as the US. Trying to destabilise China so that you can divide and control them. That's your evil objective. Shame on you.

  32. Journalists and politicians are blind in this video, and many of them are fake news. The statue of HK decreases dramatically with the more open in the mainland.

  33. When I was 13, I thought that the whole communist society around me is a lie. The commie education, those commie policies, are all based on a lie called communisim that was designed to enslave the Chinese people. So I sniffed on every piece of communist propaganda I see, avoided every political event the school organized, and moured for every student that got killed during the Tiananmen massacre. My favorate book was "1984", and I believed that the people should be freed from the ccp. I really wanted to get out of China and live in a free and democratic nation like the U.S. . I was like a prisoner locked up in a small room, desiring to kick the door open to embrace the freedom and democracy. Then, when I was 16, I learned to use a VPN to bypass "The Great Wall", and to browse Youtube for the first time of my life. I actually kicked the door open.

    But instead of seeing freedom and democracy, what I saw was ABSOLUTE HATRED. I saw loads of people waging war against China or defending a Chinese invasion in their own brain, completely viewing China an enemy which has to be defeated. I saw loads of western medias making up lies far beyond my imagination, and most unbelievably, people were accepting them as truths. For example, some say that China has imprisoned houndreds of thousands of muslins in xinjiang province, but what they don't see is that there were terrorists throwing bombs, burning cars, stabbing people on the streets, causing hundreds of innocent deaths there, and the terrorists were brainwashed by the Taliban. There were re-educational camps set up there to teach them to read, to use cellphones and some other basic life skills so they can restore a normal life. I've been to xinjiang as a tourist before, and the muslins were living just like the others.

    What really hit me most was that whenever you try to debate with them, no matter what you say, they will simply refer to you as being a "5 cent army" or being "brainwashed".(I 'm pretty sure there still will be someone referring me to these, just wait and watch.) I feel sad for those, as they have been viewing nagative news on China for too long, and have completely lost the ability of even the most basic logical thinking. It feels like opening up the door, and instead of freedom and democracy, you face a bunch of mindless monsters staying in the darkness, waiting to tear down the house and kill everyone in the room. That week, my whole world view collapsed.

    I asked my dad about what happened on Tiananmen Square on 6.4.1989. After an awkward silent, he told me he was one of the students that night, which he had kept secret for years. He said that he SAW the mob set the buses on fire as road blocks, threw petrol bombs at soldiers. They even hanged two of the soldiers on the lampost. The army surrounded the square, leaving only one side for exit. My father then left the square with his classmates and went home. During that time ,he recalled, that he heard NO GUNSHOTS AT ALL.

    I see what happened to Iraq, to Syria, to Yemen, and now, to Hong Kong. So I was totally not suprised when my dad told me that there were clearly someone organizing the riot on Tiananmen Square that night, handing out petrol bombs, instructing the mob on how to set up road blocks and how to attack the weakpoints of an armored vehicle, hanging soldiers to make things worse. I realized that the whole western "freedom, democracy and human right" is a big lie, they never care about these things. What they want to do is to completely destory China, turn China into a battlefield just like Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, so that China can never get improved and they can enjoy the cheap products made by China, and China will never be producing anything else except those cheap products.




  34. The British government’s criticism for HongKong matter is very hypocrisy. Please tell us when you gave universal suffrage and which governor before 1997 is voted by the people in HongKong. What will the British or American government do when the “peace protector” break into parliament and attack the police. Why don’t you listen to your people’s voice and let Scotland, Wales and northern island go independent ?! HongKong people do have a right to ask for appeal. But we all knew against Extradition law amendment it’s just an excuse. HongKong is part of China and this is the truth and the fact.

  35. Long overdue,,, China is the natural enemy of the common man and woman
    Hopefully these demonstartors will be the spark that ignites a massive country wide rebellion

  36. Absolute power corrupts absolutely so mailand china can fuck off and leave the Hong Kong nation alone. One day China will pay for what it is doing, you mark my words.

  37. HK belongs to China since medieval times , this is a fact that the protesters are not facing / refused to face. Wake up from your ideas, comply or be destroyed. PLA tanks / armoured vehicles / elite soldiers are only waiting for that button to be pressed and a new history will be written instead of 2047

  38. the choice is LOUD & CLEAR = A TRUE 1 COUNTRY 2 SYSTEMS
    We love 1 country and we love 2 systems

  39. wow china's 50cent army really putting in work on these videos look at all the sock puppet accounts defending china.

  40. Well the cia agents were named and shown along with the ngo groups like soroos and cias democracy foundation. Those are all about color revolutions to bring about chaos and war. US wants the military intervention. Never mind a few million hong kong refugees and hundreds of thousands of dead and the entrety of hong kong being left burning ruin.
    That is just the way america the empire of chaos rolls. And always have. Everywhere whether via isis or some other tool.

  41. Basically the whole protest is about people in Hong Kong unable to accept the fact that they are now inferior to other places in China in recent years because of the economical rise. They cannot accept the fact that the superiority they have had in the early 80s and 90s are lost because ports like Shanghai and Shenzhen are now far better and more internationally connected. It has nothing to do with the government since British did nothing but exploited the people there. It's the same fact that some Taiwanese people still want Japanese to come back . Era has changed and many are still clinging onto the old "glorious days".

  42. This f'n blows any f'n way you look at it.
    Sphere of influence? Is one issue, but to f'n forcefully manipulate a 13% depreciate in exchange currency. Skyrocketing inflation for local citizens, Yet no evidence of such shall be available. As Tanks are rolling in to Hong Kong, and eventually Taiwan.
    Seriously Xi Jinping, not a even a f'n hint of compromise???

  43. This f'n blows any f'n way you look at it.
    Sphere of influence? Is one issue, but to f'n forcefully manipulate a 13% depreciate in exchange currency. Skyrocketing inflation for local citizens, Yet no evidence of such shall be available. As Tanks are rolling in to Hong Kong, and eventually Taiwan.
    Seriously Xi Jinping, not a even a f'n hint of compromise???

  44. This f'n blows any f'n way you look at it.
    Sphere of influence? Is one issue, but to f'n forcefully manipulate a 13% depreciate in exchange currency. Skyrocketing inflation for local citizens, Yet no evidence of such shall be available. As Tanks are rolling in to Hong Kong, and eventually Taiwan.
    Seriously Xi Jinping, not a even a f'n hint of compromise???

  45. This f'n blows any f'n way you look at it.
    Sphere of influence? Is one issue, but to f'n forcefully manipulate a 13% depreciate in exchange currency. Skyrocketing inflation for local citizens, Yet no evidence of such shall be available. As Tanks are rolling in to Hong Kong, and eventually Taiwan.
    Seriously Xi Jinping, not a even a f'n hint of compromise???

  46. message for YT censoring department… the UN is COMMUNIST CRIMINAL organization and the UN praise Communist
    China for killing 100 million civilians during peace time. Think twice before shadow banning the truth.

  47. you forget that hong kong has the highest wealth disparity in the world, it's a prime example of capitalist corruption

  48. Dumn you Communist Party everytime there are trouble that caused because of your idiotuc behavior you are blaming democratic nations! You bukshit! You canot twist our mind of your demonic propaganda! Remember yoyr country gree because of us! Damn you again communist party!

  49. "To roll troups into that kind of a financial centre would be an economic catastrophy"
    Capitalist bullshit.

    No. The Chinese Communist Party/president Xi would restore order if they deem it necessary. Hong Kong will be easily replaced, some people (in Hong Kong) think that Hong Kong is special to China. They are in for a surprise. Shenzhen, Shanghai are ready to take over or already have done so.

    If one studies the life of president Xi through his biographies, then you understand his dedication to the party. How he suffered as a youngster, how he gradually rose up through the ranks although het could have made a faster political journey being "red royalty". He will not give in in any way. The Communist Party of China has raised millions out of poverty, making horrible mistakes along that road, but they know their goal and Hong Kong is just a nuisance right now. A fly bothering you? You just swat it.

  50. the chinese government is going to have no other choice but to use there military to gain control of teh city…..

  51. How can China say that foreign countries (BRITAIN for example?) shouldn't meddle in their affairs if they are violating the 50 year agreement that they made with Britain in the first place

  52. //* Economic Stability or Absolute Power Stability isn't an option *//
    IMO, the commies believe that with absolute power is the way of having economic stability. Therefore, without understanding the economic impact by those corrupted commies and how they corrupted HK uses their absolute power, that conclusion can be misleading.
    On the other hand, the real option for the commies are giving up absolute power in HK so the economic stability can be processed.

  53. this chinese people Living Hong Kong already have British Passport since british Live , before living British hand out every Honk Kong residents British passport so Before China really take oer Hong kong they are trying to do much distruption as possible and all will eventually live to Australia , England , Canada USA , Europe before final day , . Brooklyn Where use to be " run down " section become " China Town " after fist wave of Hong Kong Chinese Came already 30 years by hundred of thousands .

  54. I would like to ask Hong Kongers do they still wish that they were under British rule with a system similar to Gibraltar and the UK have?…

  55. The chart at 6:20 should scare anyone in Hong Kong. But to think that Hong Kong’s share of Chinese GNP is proportional to its importance to China, and to the world would be foolish
    President Xi is very clearly the culmination of both Chinese Communism and what happened at Tienanmen square 30 years ago. Don’t forget that even those party members who only came on board with June 4 after that date, were demoted, retired or fired. Given the same situation have no doubt how Xi would responde.
    But consider how Party dogma and June 4, 1989 thinking ultimately undermines the Chinese Communist Party. Without open access to all ideas so the best ones can be adopted, and without an open competition between many different ideas and ways of doing things, the best ideas are likely to never come from the Party or its most powerful leader; they've inoculated themselves against different ideas.
    I have no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party would argue that they've unified China, kicked out foreign exploiters and invaders, and after a few ‘bumps’ (mass famine, the Cultural Revolution) they'd made China rich, made China ascendant on the world stage. They'd have a good argument. But if you look at their cities and how the amazing Chinese wealth has been made in the past 40 years–none of it looks like Mao Thought, all of it is Hong Kong repeated a thousand times. When things do not work in China — how do they do that in Hong Kong? Likely they’re doing it better, with less corruption, for the benefit of more people which in the end benefits all China and the world. Only stupid non-Chinese would want to harm Hong Kong or China.
    Hong Kong's economic significance will continue to diminish relative to the rest of the People's Republic, but what’s far more important is Hong Kong's impact as a source of ideas, methods and inspiration for the success of contemporary China.
    Authoritarian regimes usually flat line or fail, corruption and cronyism usually stand out more than other factors, but while command economies may do very well in a crisis, over the long term they inevitably atrophy. Where is there an example of an economically successful authoritarian regime that lasted for 50 or 60 years? North Korea under the first Kim had a higher standard of living than the South; how long were they able to sustain that?
    Hong Kong seems chaotic and disrespectful? That is what new ideas always look like to those failing or about to fail. Any country that could immigrate 1 million Hong Kongers, would see within a dozen years ten times the positive impact of a million of its own citizens.
    When so many people are protesting the intelligent response is not to stop them, but to listen and work with them. To violently surpress Hong Kong would be like if China collected and destroyed all the smart phones. It will give those in power more control and more stability and bury the future.

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