And the People’s Republic of China threatens. Hong Kong citizens have been protesting a PRC-endorsed law proposal that would allow Hong Kongese and others resident in or visiting Hong Kong to be extradited to the mainland for trial in the PRC’s government-run court system.
[The PRC’s] government signaled its fraying patience with protesters in Hong Kong after they stormed the city’s legislature, calling the violent turn a direct challenge to Beijing’s authority and suggesting it would have to be answered.
Public statements from Beijing marked a shift in Chinese leaders’ attitude toward the crisis in the semiautonomous territory, indicating they may be forced to step in….
Consistent with that, the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison has begun “emergency handling” exercises.
The [PRC] government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office called the protests a “blatant challenge to the bottom line of ‘one country, two systems’….”
Hardly. The PRC’s proposed extradition law for Hong Kong is a deliberate threat to the two systems part. Yet, here’s Zhang Jian, Associate Research Fellow at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies:
The suspension of the bill is tantamount to a withdrawal. There is no more room for backing down, no more ground for retreating.
This, of course, is nonsense. Suspension is not withdrawal, it’s a deliberate attempt to keep the extradition bill alive for later, quieter reconsideration and for enactment out of site of the peasantry. There’s plenty of room for continued action: the actual withdrawal of the bill.
Beijing has often appeared tolerant in the face of mass protests in mainland China and Hong Kong—and when passions and attention fade, authorities detain, attack, or otherwise punish ringleaders to prevent a recurrence.
To be sure, that’s a faux patience, and the tanks may well roll across the bridges, just as they rolled into Tiananmen Square not so very long ago when another bunch of uppity peasants demanded freedom.