KT edit: Fears in Hong Kong, but also scope for talks

Carrie Lam, the city's CEO may have climbed down from her position but is still in the hot seat.



Nine weeks of protests in Hong Kong have sapped the life out of a vibrant city. Travel has been hit with the disruption of flights to the territory and its status as a global commercial hub has taken a beating with the closure of shops and businesses. In the prevailing uncertainty, investors and people are unwilling to bet on the city's prospects. Beijing is showing its impatience and has said it will not stay silent for long and allow things to drift out of control. Hong Kong's police claim they are on top of the situation which is clearly not the case as the protests have spread. The Chinese People Liberation Army is ready to move in if things get out of hand. Carrie Lam, the city's CEO may have climbed down from her position but is still in the hot seat and appears to have lost her way on administrative matters.
The protesters want her gone for being a dove on China. They have made their demands clear but the mainland appears in no mood to listen and has other ideas on how to run the territory. China has made it known that its silence should be seen as weakness by the West. It has signalled it will step in at a time of its choosing while levelling the allegation that the demonstrations have been stoked by foreign powers with the UK being the main suspect. The former colonial power who ceded power to Beijing after ruling for 156 years has been targeted by Chinese media. This makes the tense standoff not just an internal matter of China but could also have diplomatic repercussions.
A top official from Beijing, who is based in Hong Kong, told protesters not to "underestimate the firm resolve of the central government". The chilling warning points to where these demonstrations could eventually lead to if China decides to act. A crackdown by the military could be termed as excessive use of force on civilians who have protested peacefully for the most part. The protesters, several of whom have been arrested, see Carrie Lam as the symbolic stooge of a superpower that exerts some control over their affairs. So protests have been followed by threats with both sides have been unwilling to talk their way out of the crisis. It's shocking that channels of communication have not been set up. All might not be lost for the protesters and the administration if they settle for a compromise. Will good sense prevail?


More news from OPINION
India is the market for the next decade

Opinion

India is the market for the next decade

Corporate earnings appear to be on the cusp of revival. The earnings growth is expected to be more than 50 per cent between FY20 and FY22; earnings growth momentum is likely to continue at more than 25 per cent annually over the next couple of years.

Opinion4 days ago

An assault, a trial and a road to nowhere

Opinion

An assault, a trial and a road to nowhere

A day after a leading south Indian actress opened up on social media about her life as victim and survivor of a sexual assault in 2017, a groundswell of support is forming in the film industry of her home state, Kerala.

Opinion1 week ago

Can US elections be made safe from Capitol-type mob violence?

Opinion

Can US elections be made safe from Capitol-type mob violence?

It’s understandable that Biden may be reluctant to prosecute his 2020 election opponent and potential opponent in 2024. Even if neither man runs in 2024, prosecution of a former president by his successor would be a huge distraction from Biden’s efforts to govern, would divide the country even further, and perhaps lead to even worse violence than a year ago.

Opinion1 week ago

Digitisation set to revolutionise healthcare

Opinion

Digitisation set to revolutionise healthcare

The future of healthcare is shaping up in front of us. You will see humanoid robots in many hospitals — many will be unseen, sitting inside computers and providing diagnosis and treatment protocols to help the doctors. Wearables and trackers with remote monitoring has already become quite popular and will increase significantly.

Opinion1 week ago