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Hong Kong unrest runs serious risk of escalation

Monday, August 5, 2019

Significance

The strike is a major escalation of the months-long anti-government protest movement, causing serious economic disruption for the first time and setting a precedent. The government’s suspension of a controversial bill allowing extradition to mainland China has failed to satisfy activists and a significant section of the public. Police today continue to clash with protesters in several locations around the city, resulting in arrests, serious injuries and destruction of public property.

Impacts

  • Use of mainland Chinese military riot police is now realistic.
  • The longer protests continue, the more opportunities there are for miscalculation or radical tactics on both sides that deepen animosities.
  • Limited mainland intervention as a last resort still seems more likely than a risky attempt to intimidate using overwhelming force.
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