First, some interesting (if ever so uncomfortable and chilling) charts on changes attributable to the Chinese presence in Hong Kong, courtesy of Bloomberg. Read ’em and weep, then hit the jump.
So you’re here, hopefully to try to get some more justification for that title. Before we get ahead of ourselves, thanks!
Why did I write about phase changes? Well, to see my view of how media (and to some extent western viewpoints) work, here’s a few developments and their reporting that have frustrated me:
- “Tear gas and riot police?! This looks like Tiananmen Square and it’s all the CCP’s fault, spearheaded by controller-in-chief Xi Jinping. Next up, PLA Tanks!”
- “People’s Daily wrote an editorial about the protests?! This looks like Tiananmen Square and it’s all the CCP’s fault, spearheaded by controller-in-chief Xi Jinping. Next up, PLA Tanks!”
- “The CCP is keeping mum about things and hoping to wait out the protests?! This looks like Tiananmen Square and it’s all the CCP’s fault, spearheaded by controller-in-chief Xi Jinping. Next up, PLA Tanks!”
- “Talks are agreed to and most protesters are off the streets, with a few radicalized splinter groups saying the main movement doesn’t represent them and that they have every right to defy the government even as a teeny minority of the overall protesting group? Oh, well, everything is fine then and things are calm then we suppose. Good job, protest!”
Not too unexpected, but this is a part of why I hate student uprisings – negotiations don’t really work. If things go bad during the negotiations (any small mistake on the government side) people will be back on the streets again, now in a movement most likely owned by the most radical student forces. If things work well during the negotiations, the students will agree with the government, and the agreements will not appease the students still on the streets, who will likely continue with a generally unpopular and increasingly uncivil disobedience. When the government tries to restore order this will likely cause clashes, which will once again rally massive support for the splinter factions and radicalize the whole movement. This line of logic is in my eyes the scary precedent set by Tiananmen Square in 1989, not police crowd management. In my way of looking at it, there were two cycles of added radicalization followed swelling support in Tiananmen: I really hope that the current protest leaders in Hong Kong can actually manage the aftermath of the protests and keep their movement unified at their center-point of opinions. Winning a war takes an army flush with weapons, winning peace takes great planning and lots of effort.
If you have been following and understanding my academic reports of Xi Jinping’s reform pushes, who he is in both a current and historical CCP perspective, and the unique position he has in China to drive China into Deng Xiaoping’s next level of reforms from both a political and financial perspective, then you most likely can guess how high I think the probability is that things will turn violent thanks to the CCP. Xi will simply not turn a policy petri dish, human capital hotspot and global symbol of free market- and development success stories into his personal bloodstained policy failure and a reason to do battle with the ghosts of Mao, summoned by Jiang Zemin’s lackeys.
Fingers crossed that cooler heads prevail, as the first of a cycle of very potentially dangerous developments for Hong Kong runs its course peacefully.