A full-scale military crackdown on the Hong Kongers resisting imposition of mainland-style tyranny may be in the cards, but President Xi and his supporters must understand that they will pay a monumental price for any bloodbath. From Xi’s perspective, this is terrible timing, all the more painful because it was a change in Hong Kong’s extradition law pushed by Beijing that set off the protests.
A pair of videos on YouTube appear to show columns of military units moving into Hong Kong (hat tip: Conservative Treehouse)
And the regime has ended the three days of protests (video here) at Hong Kong International Airport by shutting down the facility, one of the biggest nodes in the world’s international air travel network. Low profile, this is not. And that is one huge problem for the tyrants.
At this very moment, President Trump is fighting a lonely battle with China over its massive theft of intellectual property, currency manipulation and trade barriers. Beijing has been hoping that it could play off other advanced economies – currently noncombatants – against Trump, offering them the export markets that it would deny to the United States in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs and pressure. But if China brutally cracks down in Hong Kong as it did in Tiananmen 30 years ago, public pressure in Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Canada (among others) will make it difficult for their governments to side openly with China. The very last thing that Xi wants is a united front on trade. For almost two decades, China has enjoyed all the fruits of membership in the World Trade Organization without being held to account for its behavior that violates the agreement.
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