The Hong Kong protestors have called for Hong Kong’s legislators to resign, which would trigger elections right there in Hong Kong and which would also serve as a popular referendum on Hong Kong’s—and the PRC’s—government policies.
Hong Kong’s response? From Chief Secretary Carrie Lam:
There are no arrangements in place for a so-called referendum in Hong Kong’s electoral and political system….
The bureaucrat is incapable of imagining doing anything non-standard, the bureaucracy cannot find a way to accommodate the people when there’s nothing in their written-down procedures to show them the way. The bureaucracy, any bureaucracy, is incapable of dealing with the noise of democracy, whether popular or republican or any other form. Bureaucracies simply have no flexibility.
Yes, I’m being generous in laying this off to bureaucracy and not anything else, but the point is valid in any event: despotism is even more inflexible, especially regarding things of which the despot disapproves.