The battle for Hong Kong intensifies

All weekend there were protests and running battles. Saturday night via The Australian:

The battle for Hong Kong’s future in its summer of discontent spread from the skyscraper-lined avenues of the city centre to a new front line near the Chinese border last night.

Tens of thousands of black-clad protesters defied a police ban to hold an unsanctioned rally in the town where triad gangsters went on the rampage last weekend. Officers fired tear gas and pepper spray as protesters hurled bricks and bottles in the streets of Yuen Long, a community in the northern New Territories, where triads hold considerable sway.

There was an hours-long confrontation outside a village that marauding gangs had used as a launch pad for their rampage at a suburban railway station last Sunday.

Sunday night from SCMP:

Calm has returned to Hong Kong which will wake once again on a Monday morning to pick up the pieces of a fractured city.

The organiser of today’s protest Ventus Lau Wing-hong, whose application was limited to a sit-in at Chater Garden, says 11,000 joined the gathering at its peak.

He adds police “led participants” to march shortly after the sit-in began. He also claimed there were 10,000 protest marches along different routes, none of which exceeded the upper limit for a lawful assembly of 30 people.

He condemns the police clearance as “cold-blooded” and warns the “bloody suppression” over the last two days will only trigger a bigger resistance.

Beijing’s Triad gambit appears to have backfired, for now. Via Epoch Times:

Following a July 21 violent mob attack that targeted protesters who opposed a local extradition bill, a growing chorus of support for the protesters have emerged from different sectors of Hong Kong society, from the staff at government agencies to medical workers.

They have initiated open letters, attaching messages echoing protesters’ demands and condemning the police.

On July 21, dozens of masked men in white shirts attacked passengers inside a metro station in Hong Kong’s Yuen Long district, beating indiscriminately at passengers with wooden sticks and metal bars. Witnesses said the mob targeted people dressed in black, as protesters wore black clothing to a demonstration held earlier that day against an extradition bill that would allow individuals to be sent back to mainland China to stand trial.

But it’s ready for more, at SCMP:

China’s top Hong Kong policy office will on Monday respond for the first time to escalating civil unrest that has beset the city’s government since June.

The announcement came as anti-government protesters clashed with riot police outside the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong for a second consecutive weekend.

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) under the State Council, China’s cabinet, will hold a press conference in Beijing to give “its stance and views on Hong Kong’s current situation”, according to a central government notice.

It will be the first time the HKMAO has held a press briefing on the city since Britain handed it over to China in 1997. It also suggests the Chinese leadership may have reached a decision on Hong Kong since a wave of mass protests and violent clashes over a now-shelved extradition bill began nearly two months ago.

As geopolitics stirs, via Bloomie:

Several protesters carried American flags as they marched, threatening to further stoke tensions between China and the U.S. even as high-level trade talks restart on Monday. Beijing this week said Washington should remove its “black hand” from Hong Kong’s protests, some of its most pointed criticism yet against what it says is American interference in the city’s affairs. The U.S. denies backing the protests.

China’s complaints have increased as the U.S. issues statements urging it to respect the rights of protesters who oppose its increasing control over the city. Xi has so far maintained support for Lam in part to avoid setting a precedent in which popular protests initiate political change. Chinese officials are scheduled to brief reporters in Beijing on Monday on the situation in Hong Kong.

Who knows what Beijing intends. If it turns more hawkish then it can expect to lose the trade war twice as fast as Western executives fear for their own lives and supply chains exit the Chinese tyranny much faster than via any Trump tariffs. It can also expect to see Taiwan fortify itself against mainland aggression.

The dovish path of “one country, two systems” is the better option but it involves a massive climb down that brutal dictatorships are not famous for, and it will also embolden Taiwan, not to mention mainland dissenters.

The contemporary version of the Communist Party of China as friendly globalist is dying in Hong Kong.

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments are hidden for Membership Subscribers only.