Hong Kong resembles prelude to war

Via Bloomie:

Hong Kong authorities deployed more aggressive tactics during the 10th straight weekend of anti-China protests, with riot police videotaped beating demonstrators in subway stations and officers going undercover to infiltrate the group and make arrests.

The violent scenes emerged as protesters used flash mobs across the city, surrounding police stations, disrupting traffic, and hurling projectiles including bricks and petrol bombs. One officer was taken to the hospital after suffering burns in the upmarket shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui. Mob violence broke out elsewhere.

Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets at various locations — including inside a metro station for the first time. Dramatic videos showed riot police firing weapons at close range and beating some protesters, many of whom wore yellow hard hats and gas masks. Some 13 protesters were injured, including two in serious condition, RTHK reported, citing hospital authorities.

More at SCMP:

Police fired tear gas at protesters in an enclosed railway station for the first time, stepping up the use of force as Hong Kong was rocked by another weekend of violent anti-government demonstrations across multiple districts.

Casualties were reported on both sides after parts of Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Wan Chai and Kwai Chung became smoking war zones once again on Sunday, with protesters continuing their new hit-and-run tactics to stay one step ahead of police who responded to bricks and petrol bombs with barrages of tear gas and baton charges.
According to the Hospital Authority, as of 11.30pm on Sunday, 13 people – nine men and four women – had been injured in protests and sent to hospitals across the city. They are aged 17 to 56. Nine had been discharged, and a man and woman were still in serious condition.

The ground-level concourse of the Kwai Fong MTR station was filled with smoke as riot police first fired tear gas into the building at retreating protesters, then stormed inside and opened fire again.

Protesters had been heading towards the nearby Kwai Chung Police Station for another flash mob-style siege when they were driven back.

Tear gas was used after multiple warnings and MTR announcements that the station was closed and trains would not be stopping at Kwai Fong, except for additional ones arranged to pick up people already inside.

The videos tell a stark story.

It’s swiftly spreading into moral panics across commerce as well. Also at Bloomie:

Versace has just lost its brand ambassador in China.

Chinese actress Yang Mi said she’ll end her cooperation with the luxury fashion label after a controversy erupted online over claims that its T-shirt design defied the “One China” policy.

Yang said Versace has harmed China’s sovereign and territorial integrity, according to a statement posted Sunday (Aug 11) on the official Weibo account of Jiaxing Xingguang, the actress’s studio.

And this at the FT:

Cathay Pacific fired two airport employees and suspended a pilot for conduct linked to anti-government protests as China stepped up its efforts to pull Hong Kong business into line over the increasingly angry demonstrations.

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said at the weekend it would comply with a directive from China’s aviation authority that included an order to take workers off flights to China if they had participated in illegal demonstrations that have gone on for 10 weeks.

The regulator’s move was the starkest sign yet of Beijing’s growing readiness to make high-profile businesses choose between incurring the wrath of either Hong Kong staff and protesters or Beijing and customers in mainland China.

A propaganda flood. Opposite sides hardening positions. People forced behind one barricade or the other. The collapse of dialogue.

More and more, Hong Kong resembles the prelude to war.

What form that will take is the question; a swift and violent crackdown, or a long and debilitating infiltration and “re-education” of protesters.

Houses and Holes

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 fouding 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.

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