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The ongoing protests in Hong Kong have grown recently, with the tactics of the protesters shifting in response to increasingly aggressive actions by the police. They’ve begun shutting down major roadways, as well as closing the airport for two straight days now. Their leader, Carrie Lam, appears to be completely ineffective in either satisfying the protester’s needs and getting them to disperse or gaining any concessions from China to ease the tensions.
The Washington Post editorial board has a deep dive into the current state of affairs, claiming that China is the party that has “misread” the protests from the beginning. Their analysis of where things should go from here is certainly optimistic but also appears to be a bit disconnected from reality.
When protests erupted over the extradition proposal, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam should have immediately canceled it. Instead, Ms. Lam, more sensitive to the demands of her overlords in Beijing than to the values that underlie Hong Kong’s success, tried to sidestep the issue with some obfuscation. It didn’t work.
Another miscalculation was to assume that the protests would simply flare out. The protests are a political groundswell, a reflection of genuine popular anger and commitment to democracy. But authorities treated the protesters as “terrorists” and “rioters,” a law enforcement problem to be handled by the Hong Kong police, who have repeatedly overreacted, including this weekend when they fired tear gas into a subway station and were discovered using undercover officers to infiltrate the demonstrators. In response, some protesters have turned more violent, unwisely resorting to vandalism, throwing bricks and a petrol bomb, and disruption.
Yet another mistake of the Chinese authorities has been to roll out the boogeyman that the protests are inspired by foreigners.
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