The protests in Hong Kong are continuing, with Hong Kong’s universities becoming key areas controlled by protesters. Many universities have been cordoned off and barricaded, with students manning checkpoints and scanning visitors to make sure that no undercover police officers make it onto university campuses. In the rest of the city protesters continue their campaign to shut down traffic and normal life, disrupting trains, buses, and other forms of transportation.
At Hong Kong Polytechnic University, things came to a head on Monday as police besieged the university and attempted to forcibly remove protesters. Hundreds of protesting students were encircled by police, with many trying to flee and many others trying to remain outside the police’s grasp. While students had been promised appropriate medical care if they surrendered to police, there’s no reason for them to trust authorities at this point.
Many of the protesters felt that continuing their protests was the only solution, with neither the Beijing government nor the Hong Kong government willing to negotiate a solution. And with increasing violence on the part of the police, students saw no other way out except by retaliating with violence.
The Hong Kong government has been largely absent in recent weeks, not commenting at all on events that are transpiring. With elections set to take place this weekend, the government has even floated the possibility of postponing the elections, a move that would be sure to enrage protesters and result in even more dissatisfaction.
Beijing’s state media organs have made the typical arguments you might expect about China’s sovereignty, blah, blah, blah, etc. But they fail to recognize Bejiing’s role in causing this crisis. If nothing else, the crisis in Hong Kong makes it abundantly clear that Beijing can’t be trusted to keep its word.
The one country, two systems approach was supposed to remain in effect until 2047. But Beijing can’t resist meddling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, going back on the promise it made when taking control of Hong Kong. Its meddling is what inspired protesters to protest, and its inability to take the blame and instead to take a hard line against the protests is what has ended up making them so much worse.
If China continues to crack down on protests, or interferes with Sunday’s elections, Hong Kong could become the next Tienanmen Square. The one-time jewel of the Orient may end up being destroyed by a communist dictatorship that ruins everything it touches.