Hong Kong protests: what's at stake for China? | The Economist

The Economist
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The Hong Kong protests are the most serious challenge to China's authority since the Tiananmen Square massacre. Read more about the Hong Kong protests here: econ.st/2YKYdWV
Click here to subscribe to The Economist on RUvid: econ.st/2xvTKdy
This protester calls himself “Bruce”. We’ve hidden his face and obscured his voice to protect his identity. He’s one of the millions of Hong Kongers taking to the streets.
What started as a protest against an extradition bill has become the most serious challenge to the Communist Party’s authority since the Tiananmen Square protest three decades ago. As the demonstrations enter a third month neither the government nor the protesters is willing to back down.
But it’s not enough to deter the demonstrators. So what happens now?
Hong Kong is one of the most important financial centres in the world. And it has a unique status. It’s a city in China but it’s not entirely Chinese. It has its own currency, its own passport… its own legal system. There’s even a boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China and you need a permit to cross it. This is all down to its history.
In 1842 Hong Kong was ceded by the Chinese to the British after the first Opium War. But in 1997 Britain gave it back to China. With one important condition - for 50 years Hong Kong was to be governed under what is known as “one country, two systems”. The chief executive who runs Hong Kong would be appointed by a pro-Chinese committee. But the city was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy with its own government, legal system and economic independence until 2047. Over the past decade those rights have been eroded.
Fuller democracy, promised as part of the handover agreement has yet to be granted by China.
China’s grip has got ever tighter. In 2012 the government tried to install a patriotic pro-Chinese education system. Then five Hong Kong booksellers who sold material banned in mainland China disappeared. In 2016 pro-democracy opposition leaders were thrown out of Hong Kong’s parliament for insulting China when swearing their oaths. And then in February this year the government introduced a bill which would have allowed extradition to the mainland.
All this is fuelling the protesters’ anger.
As the protests get larger and more violent the chance of China intervening increases. Beijing has made thinly veiled threats to send in its military forces - the People’s Liberation Army.
In 1989 a student demonstration in Beijing ended in massacre. Hundreds, maybe thousands, were shot dead. For the Chinese government the Hong Kong demonstrators are defying the authority of a Communist leadership that cannot tolerate defiance. Another fear is some protesters’ demand for full independence. But military intervention would be a very risky strategy for Beijing
In 1993 Hong Kong’s GDP accounted for more than a quarter of mainland China’s. Today China’s remarkable rise means that Hong Kong’s economic output makes up less than 3% of the mainland’s. But Hong Kong remains important for China. Multinationals use it as a launch pad to the mainland and it gives Chinese companies access to the rest of the world.
So how the turmoil is resolved matters to more than just the people of Hong Kong.
This all comes at a time when China and America are waging a trade and technology war. Bloodshed on Hong Kong’s streets would make relations deteriorate even further. Beijing is now blaming outsiders for the trouble.
For China the situation has become much more than a dispute over a law. It’s become an existential threat. Bruce and the other protesters are holding their breath.
China’s Communist rulers must choose between two mortal dangers - the collapse of economic stability and prosperity, or the acceptance that protests can limit the Party’s absolute power.
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Comments 80
The Economist
The Economist 7 months ago
Join us today at 1pm GMT for a live Q&A with Robert Guest, The Economist’s foreign editor, and Anna Bucks, this film's producer who will be answering your questions about the Hong Kong protests. Here's the link to see it: econ.st/31O1rpu
VR Inks
VR Inks 18 days ago
The Economist China are coraption Crimenal Conspiracy Judgement Death 💀
S S 2 months ago
HK Movement is taking a clever turn to Yellow Righteous Business Ring after successfully forced puppet withdrew the evil bill, firing HK's major commies, having US & world passed HK Human Rights Acts & sanctions against the commies & police dogs worldwide, aiding HK Districts & Taiwan win the elections, helping Trump in emptying china criminal party's pockets by the humiliated unequal trade deal, etc.
William Wang
William Wang 3 months ago
why there are no western medias to report that many protesters in Hongkong take money from American politicians. These protest activities mostly are provoked by some protester leaders who get money from America government. As a matter of fact, these all are provoked by cunning America government.
Ken LampardDeLeon
Ken LampardDeLeon 4 months ago
@rajen rai we know your country is a progressively democratic nation because your people deposed your King and reformed the government. But this Himalayan democracy has no relevance to HK at all. The political, ecomomical and cultural background and landscape is totally different.
Ken LampardDeLeon
Ken LampardDeLeon 4 months ago
@Dillon Rust Completely dependent on the United States? Without the cheap export of Chinese goods, there will be many in US who could suffer from the repercussions. Feeling sore over cheap Chinese products? Then please suggest some sound economic reforms and make some logical remarks, instead of making streams of expletives. Your bigotry remarks makes you look like a piece of garbage.
Ruoyu Zhang
Ruoyu Zhang Day ago
I'm really disappointed, just the Western kinda style media reapeated cliche. Hongkong riot was just another colour revolution funded by NED and many other American agencies.
RM S Day ago
Free Hong Kong! Free Taiwan! Other Democratic countries of Asia should support these two pro-democratic countries, as having a history and culture apart from China - one acquainted with freedom and self government.
kayan lueng
kayan lueng 4 days ago
crisis for mainland? you know what? it is just a jok for lunch,and it is Hong Kong citizens that should worry about their lunch for letting it happen
Cliff Huang
Cliff Huang 4 days ago
The PLA took back Qingdao from the US in the civil war, took back Lvshun from Soviet, and I bet no one of you knows why the PLA did not attack Hong Kong directly in 1950.
Cliff Huang
Cliff Huang 4 days ago
UK, remember what you did in the Balkans, Palestine, Kashmir, Malvinas is.,South Tibet and Africa?
Sabin Thopra
Sabin Thopra 5 days ago
British wanted Hong kong and now international company because it need to sell its things to near china Come on you get your water by china
sky kamprai
sky kamprai 6 days ago
I totally support Hong kong, Chinese Government cant oppress people like these.
Tuke 13 days ago
Why do you have a cut in audio at 0:35 ?
karolina Viveros
karolina Viveros 14 days ago
And this is what originated the corona virus not the wet market. The chinese People wanted freedom, the young people are very defiant to the communist government. And now no one is is talking about this anymore no newspapers not a single news outlets. Now is all about CORONA VIRUS.
Miguel Arias
Miguel Arias 14 days ago
Is this what lead to chemical warfare?
Sunday Wah
Sunday Wah 20 days ago
Protesters: we won’t stop. Nothing can stop us till our demands are met. China: coronavirus. Bio weapon at its best.
Antonio Cruz
Antonio Cruz 20 days ago
This is the reason.
Rezek Gabrael
Rezek Gabrael 21 day ago
This is why the Corona Virus Started....made in China!
Glitched Blox
Glitched Blox 24 days ago
money money money
End cruelty
End cruelty 25 days ago
why doesn't the monarch allow the chinese and hong kong people to live peacefully, why to interfere in their lives. What is the intention? The intention is to interfere in the life of others to control and oppress the victims. Hong Kong belongs to China, let the Chinese people live peacefully.
ᄏᄏ Month ago
Free Hongkong Free Korea
Hoonz Tookoong
Hoonz Tookoong Month ago
typical western anti chinese propaganda full of misinformation and half truths....
NoobyGamez Month ago
The police won’t attack you if you don’t attack them in the first place... Keep making lies to paint yourselves bright...
Bree Warn
Bree Warn Month ago
They hate when we think for ourselves
Lawrence Tong
Lawrence Tong Month ago
M -a
M -a Month ago
Is this the reason behind Coronavirus
Tara White
Tara White Month ago
I can see why Hong Kong wants their own space , their mentality is different ..they had freedom before so it will be tuff to manipulate them now . Western understand Hong Kong in their freedom rights This looks scary 🙏 with Hong Kong
prima Month ago
we don't need global warming agenda the pope is tricking people again don't sign that contact!
Gleto H.S
Gleto H.S Month ago
Looking at this china hongkong stuff reminds me of south korea and north korea somehow
dieudoze ds corps
Secret pas secret interne à votre régime, non àu pesticide (résistance d'un virus, et mutation continuel observer) , poudre directe du sol fine particule de terre 'terreau' directement sur les plantes, c'est anti développement insect, mieux pulvériser en plein soleil,,,,,,, , Pulvériser du sommet des tours de l'eau pompé de la mer directement ,(filtré a uv) plus (0.004% de javel) à des moments précis de la journée, ceci et une information vital, d'un Evéc dont l'argent est depuis sont père evéc élu au sein du secret et mariage au centre de l'univers lui est sa femme, ma famille nos proches, je peu donc évêque un régime au cœur de l'argent tout changer, je suis expert en technique de Pronostics générale ne pas à prendre à la légère, (axe de la terre en danger, réserve 30ans de pétrole uranium tout, phosphore, fonte des glace, monté des eaux, tout tout,) oui un evec, oui un evec héritiers d'un evec peut tout, oui tout, dans les commerces, les maisons disques, les maisons d'édition intégrale inclut dans les pub, etc, tout 💱. Changer grâce à un joyaux réel en place, ceci n'est pas une fausse information, un evec fils d'evec est réellement au cœur de l'argent et des nations
muslim ican
muslim ican Month ago
muslim ican
muslim ican Month ago
do it fast and fight !!!! for the Chinese people ... wake up ... !! .. for small armies all over the world. in China or outside China, have to fight !!!! . in the title of the fight ... free the country and people of China from the communist party "BECOME A CHINA OF A FAITH"
Nazx 36
Nazx 36 Month ago
The thing is they already have "faith" but its in their goverment lol
eddie Month ago
what's happening in HongKong is evidence that as China rises as one of the world's most powerful countries, the West is using everyone means possible to divide and to frustrate China.
sayyestofairness 2 months ago
The Hong Kong Riots, bought and paid for by the Trump administration and the Republican Party.
Jake Funk
Jake Funk 2 months ago
Just shoot all of em if they harm you you should be able to bop bop bop brrrrrrrr
Robbie Southern
Robbie Southern 2 months ago
USA is only country fighting for democracy and standing up to communist China and wake of rapid rise of China, they are breaking rule book such as claiming South China Sea and other countries territories more tariffs and communist China and more support for Hong Kong long live democracy long live USA
김경민 2 months ago
mikey moet
mikey moet 2 months ago
arup 2 months ago
US vs CHINA TRADE WAR is UPON HONG KONG NOW it should be left as UNION TERRITORY for next 50 Years at-least.
no comment no respon
why I put search qoute : pop up this video to me >_
S S 2 months ago
HK Movement is taking a clever turn to Yellow Righteous Business Ring after successfully forced puppet withdrew the evil bill, firing HK's major commies, having US & world passed HK Human Rights Acts & sanctions against the commies & police dogs worldwide, aiding HK Districts & Taiwan win the elections, helping Trump in emptying china criminal party's pockets by the humiliated unequal trade deal, etc.
Michał Michalik
Michał Michalik 2 months ago
jeime luk
jeime luk 2 months ago
This video is very biased. It tells its audience only a one side of the story. They don't even not bother to do a bit of research of the cause of the turmoil. This program is no different from any other so -called mainstream western medias.
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda 2 months ago
Whats Uk or USA or France government will do face this situation, "Lethal force" must been used within the first week. Yet in HK this tragedy still goes on for more than six months now and did CPP send their troops? For the HK junkies and outsiders DONT play strategic game with China who invent the word of strategic.
杜静楠 2 months ago
Lot's protests killed innocent people. That's why they wear masks.
yt random
yt random 2 months ago
History in the making
FK splittist Barin
FK splittist Barin 2 months ago
20~40billions $to give to the 'freedom fights',but for the pople in mainland,it just a juck!
Don Hendriks
Don Hendriks 2 months ago
All move fome ther 2 make a new land in the see next 2 holland
Chang Liu
Chang Liu 2 months ago
I have a way to solve the problem. exile hongkongers gradually and let mainlanders settle in Hongkong. Chinese territory only belongs to Chinese rather than hongkongers
live the
live the 2 months ago
Hong Kong is part of china,just like Taiwan.
KHALID PEACE NO WAR 2 months ago
*Mr China Presiden..!! 👉 U Are FIREDDDDD..!!* 😠
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
7:10 "it all comes at a time when the US and China are waging an economic, trade and technology war". DOESNT THAT MAKE THE TIMING OF THIS UPRISING JUST A LITTLE SUSPICOUS??? You don't seem to have addressed this in anyway.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
7:02 85,000 Americans live in HK, many with families, if it was such a bad place, why haven't they left already?
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
6:55 7 months in, has the liberation army been deployed? No.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
6:18 HK is now only 3% of China's GDP and getting smaller by the day. Many large Chinese companies go international direct from China now, not through HK. Alibaba listed directly on the NYSE, didn't do it through HK, until a number of years later.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
5:28 must be crushed. Those are his words, not Xi Jinping's
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
5:00 It is now 2020, more than four months on from the video...has China rolled in the tanks? No. Has the violence committed by rioters increased? Yes.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
4:21 clip says more controls on autonomy and democracy. such as? evidence?
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
3:22 the booksellers did not disappear, all are alive and well. While in mainland China they were taken into custody for selling illegal books. You can discuss if the books should be illegal or not, but they did sell books deemed illegal and were taken into police custody for breaking the law.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
3:30 those legislators were thrown out for unorderly conduct. They have thrown excrement and swore at other legislators at various times. Would this be allowed in the House of Commons?
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
3:16 the education change was reversed, so it never happened. Therefore you cannot say China's grip has become stronger as China never forced it on HK. In the U.S. all schools say the pledge of alliance everyday, isn't that patriotic pro US part of the US education? China cannot do the same?
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
3:08 clip says you want the rule of law. The rule of law in HK is the basic law. Article 1 of the basic law, states HK is part of China. These people are seperatists
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
2:55 the clip says things have deteriorate fast. what exactly has deteriorate and what is the evidence?
Turbanlan Pasalan
Turbanlan Pasalan 2 months ago
I'm not qualified enough to answer your questions. You could look it up.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
@Turbanlan Pasalan why now after 22 years when freedoms and quality of life have hardly changed (I know I have lived here all that time) why at this moment, just as China battles with the US on trade, and technology. There is clear evidence.of a black hand at work.
Turbanlan Pasalan
Turbanlan Pasalan 2 months ago
The relationship between mainland China and Hong Kong. I think the evidence is obvious that their relationship has deteriorated.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
2:45 you show the clip saying come back democracy. there was no democracy under British rule, none.
Double Happiness
Double Happiness 2 months ago
2:33 you say the rights have been eroded, but you do not state what rights, or how they have been eroded
rauno thomas moss
rauno thomas moss 2 months ago
I as grown up in Soviet Union. I see no light or solemn resolution in this question. There will be, and will be much more violence from China. Very much more. China does not feel in place to give up on anything. They have all. They already have killed mln. Hong Kong is nothing. Terrible, but it is true. I will never visit China in my life, cause i can not stand out the screams of innocent from my dreams... started somewhere from 90s. China is cursed.
Claire Ocaster
Claire Ocaster 3 months ago
Hong Kong is ruined by Hongkongers instead of Beijing
jason 3 months ago
the gov is seeking a substitute of HK,now hk is sinking
Li Alex
Li Alex 3 months ago
violent rioters thats that they are
Wen Bin
Wen Bin 3 months ago
HK is a small potato to China! No strong leadership will tolerate nonsense from the grounds, you either accept our terms or you could choose to go wherever you think it will love you most.
nyahaha haha
nyahaha haha 3 months ago
China the most hated country for it's greediness.
Loose Trans
Loose Trans 3 months ago
I still feel that editorials like aren't making the realities apparent and not actually explaining the prominiment issues of traiditionalism and nationalist mentality that taiwan has been left with. The communist machinery masked by friendship/labour ideals are stifling democracy as we know it but the potential...POTENTIAL of what can be for a modernized China should be fought for. end it with this...South Korea should take over mainland China in a systematic influential rule.
Don’t touch My Jin!
Pro China!
ENTYKEY 3 months ago
I know this maybe awkward to say but may someone help me get the name of the music at 1:23 please ❤️
Mariah Sophia Buena San Juan
Why Is the world turning Into tons of horrible crisis, the flag just fell, why u gotta worry about just put it up. 😭😭
Dyno Saur
Dyno Saur 3 months ago
Huge steak🍖😂 People are clueless of what is about to happen.
Dan D
Dan D 3 months ago
Well done, CIA
Vedez 3 months ago
To be honest, if they really want to “fight for Hong Kong” then why don’t they show their “heroic faces”. These protesters are making it seem like the police are in the wrong when they really aren’t. These policemen and policewomen have family too, that’s why they’re fighting. They just want their family to be safe. Protesters want democracy? If so they are not showing it, when someone supports China they’ll beat that person up.. They are not saving Hong Kong, they are killing Hong Kong. Whoever disagrees with me and says I’m not from Hong Kong. Jokes on you I am from Hong Kong.. Thankyou for reading
JB YY 3 months ago
As the people of Hong Kong, said the comments section many ignorance biased comments be disappointed, you don't know these battered public facilities and private property, pose a threat to others life safety yellow MOBS give us the life of ordinary Hong Kong people have brought much impact, these "reverse to send the banner opportunity to destroy most of the people don't even know what is the content of the extradition rules, only by the western countries led by America incitement to sanctions against China's young ignorance, cause of the incident extradition rules, in fact is for use in mainland China after the crime of" one country, two systems "to escape the legal sanction criminal fled to Hong Kong, Of corrupt officials, including some corruption regulations for law-abiding Hong Kong people will not have any effect, the ignorant people who do not know the situation, please comment before you are asked to answer the next question, why the French/English/Spanish and other western countries when the parade to sabotage disrupt public order, you say they mob, maintain the order of the police is a hero, and such things to occur in other countries, especially China when you have adopted different double standards, called thugs hero, and the police to maintain order became a sinner, is the western media brainwash you. Or is the failure of your education the result of your lack of independent thinking and the distortion of your three perspectives? Would you be happy if all the countries in the world except your western countries were in turmoil?
Chen Wu
Chen Wu 3 months ago
Why they still think Hong Kong is the window for mainland China? Not anymore, during they are fighting for the so-called “freedom” , we have Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao . Well, all I want to say is “Welcome to China!” Haha
Peter Woo
Peter Woo 3 months ago
Did anyone see that US CIA is behind the farce?
Martin Freeman
Martin Freeman 3 months ago
They would say, in 1997 Britain gave it back to China, but they failed to tell you that it was an invasion. Same things would happen to any country if they failed in the war in history. The only thing you have to got is ultimate power. You win the war, you dominate. War only brings death and pain. Who shall start it this time? No matter what China is a comparative peaceful nation across the world.
Rea Chen
Rea Chen 3 months ago
If people know how these students treat those police, I believe no one will stand with them. (1989 Beijing & 2019 Hongkong )
Craig Ren
Craig Ren 3 months ago
this video, have to say, reeks of Ignorance, narrowness and intolerance
刘星宇 3 months ago
没什么好说的,废青就是扔去喂鱼都污染鱼The mob is thrown to feed the fish have polluted the fish
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