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Hong Kong military crackdown would differ from 1989

Monday, August 19, 2019

Subject

The prospects for military intervention in the ongoing Hong Kong protests.

Significance

The presence of mainland troops suggests that Beijing is considering using force to quell the protests in Hong Kong. The consequences would almost certainly include international condemnation, lasting reputational damage and a legacy of resentment among locals. Use of military force would likely hasten the end of Hong Kong’s autonomy, particularly in judicial affairs and law enforcement. All scenarios become bleaker if the deployment ends in deadly force.

Impacts

  • Most Chinese citizens appear unmoved by the protests; there is no sign of unrest spreading to the mainland.
  • Chinese forces may struggle to operate alongside local police, increasing the risk of disarray.
  • Following a deployment, Chinese troops could remain in Hong Kong for weeks to ensure protesters do not return to the streets.
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