HK Protests: "Bullingdon Club with Hong Kong Characteristics"
I think that Beijing is playing it just fine. Under 'one country two systems', maintenance of law & order is essentially the responsibility of the local authorities, not the central government. If and when it becomes a real threat to national security, the Peoples Liberation Army is there.
For now, let them wear themselves out, whilst drawing certain clear lines (as the tear gas & pepper spray did admirably). As it drags on, and as National Day holiday ends, you split the periphery away from the hard core, local people get more & more fed up at being inconvenienced, business gets more & more fed up with losing money, etc.
Meanwhile, the government offers to talk to the protest leaders. Just as Premier Li Peng did in Beijing in 1989.
Also, meanwhile, use the party's underground structures in HK to mobilise the masses to go and rough up the students a bit. All the talk about "thugs" and "triads" just flags up the class lines.
And hilarious to see those engaged in blatant illegality wetting their little pants about the supposed responsibility of the police to "protect" them whilst they continue with their criminal behaviour. What a perfect illustration of the mentality of pampered middle and upper class kids, with one rule for them and one for everyone else, with "plebs" in uniform supposed to do their bidding. A sort of "Bullingdon Club with Hong Kong Characteristics".
The west keeps saying this is the biggest challenge to the CPC since 1989. Well, yeah, in their dreams & the biggest since the last thing they declared to be... the biggest challenge to the CPC since 1989. It's a statement of their desire & intent rather than any reality. It's a containable problem in a semi-detached part of China. Most of the protest leaders not only hate the CPC but despise mainlanders in general. And by & large mainlanders are not that enamoured of Hong Kongers either.
Something like this was inevitably going to occur at some point.
- From a friend of Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm