KT Edit: Danger in Hong Kong impasse rising everyday

When the Union Jack came down over Hong Kong in July 1997 there was concern that the unique character of this island and its global standing as a financial hub would be dismantled by the forces in Beijing and the sheer size of mainland China. Twenty-two pitch years later the charade of continuity has worn thin on both sides. The Hong Kong population and its newest generation of young adults don't want this weak facsimile of democracy and are now tired of the facade. Beijing has gradually asserted its influence, both political and fiscal and most importantly culturally in the hope of diluting the Western ideals and lifestyle that still mark the Hong Kong experience. The impasse between the young brigades and the government in situ and from the mainland is reaching a dangerous pitch. While China might well hesitate before sending in troops to disperse the mass protesters who have even taken over the airport because the eyes of the world are on Hong Kong and it wouldn't want to be seen as advocating another Tiananmen Square, dire situation and the increasing disruption of life on the island cannot be ignored either.
As the widespread resistance intensifies with encouragement from the Western media and other democratic nations, it makes Beijing look inept and ineffective, a luxury it cannot afford or else it might well find a rash of trouble spots and flare ups on the home front. And while there might not be any sound of firing weaponry, the option of using civilian riot control methods could well be on the cards. Realistically, China cannot allow the protests to continue in this fashion but by the same token it cannot be too highhanded and aggressive because any such overt action could tear the fragile fabric of the island and destroy most dramatically the fiscal integrity of Hong Kong. So, it is a rock and a hard place and perhaps the best course is that of dialogue even though there might be an element of 'let's pretend' on both sides. Better than water cannons, cops in riot gear, and the walking wounded. At least by talking things could improve. The way it is now it is likely to get worse. At least if some sort of tenuous negotiation is started, there will be a respite and the two antagonists can return to neutral corners.




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