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

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 streetsMany people here are wearing face masksPeople are hiding their identitiesThey fear that the government will press chargesWhat 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 downPolice fire tear gas, rubber bullets……and use their police baton to hit the protestersBut it’s not enough to deter the demonstrators So what happens now?This is a real nightmare for the Communist government in BeijingThey can either crush Hong Kong……or they can tolerate being defied……in a way that undermines everything……about their whole structure of governmentThey have no good choicesHong 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 ChinaHong Kong people are to run Hong KongWith 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 ChinaYellow ribbon means come back, come back democracyEmily Lau was a Hong Kong politician for 25 years Today she still campaigns for democracyThings have deteriorated fast……particularly since President Xi Jinping came to powerSo people are very concernedWe want freedoms, we want personal safety……we want the rule of lawChina’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 mainlandVery few people in Hong Kong imagine there’s going to be……full-on, Western-style democracyBut they are very angry about the way that……what they believe they were promised……was something much more accountable where……you’d have something close to universal suffrageThe basic social contract……between the people of Hong Kong and their government is breaking downAll this is fuelling the protesters’ angerThe invisible hand from China……are getting more visibleThey are putting more controls on Hong Kong’s autonomy and democracyHong Kong is not ChinaPeople will say to you, “We know that 2047 is coming one day……but we don’t want it to happen now”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 ArmyThose who play with fire will perish by itAt the end of the day, they will eventually be punishedA few weeks ago nobody seriously thought……we could see another Tiananmen Square in Hong KongNow you can’t rule it outIn 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 defianceFor President Xi Jinping……his kind of north and south, his east and west, is the absolute authority……and total control of the Chinese Communist PartyAnd anything that threatens that must be crushedThey are afraid that it could be very infectious……and they don’t want to see such marches……in the other parts of mainland ChinaAnother fear is some protesters’ demand for full independence But military intervention would be a very risky strategy for BeijingHong Kong for all its woes……is still a very rich world financial centreTo roll troops into that kind of financial centre……would be an economic catastropheIn 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 worldSo we are very specialWe are a window for China to look to the outside world……as an international city with all our connectionsIt’s very valuable to ChinaSo how the turmoil is resolved matters to more… …than just the people of Hong KongThe government there said the People’s Liberation Army may be deployedBut if that’s the case, the game is overIf China uses lethal force……then you would see an economic crashThere’s 85,000 American expatriates in Hong KongYou would see them fleeing for the airportThis 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 troubleWe’ve seen remarkably explicit……state-media commentaries telling the people of China……that these protests are not just radical and violent……but are also orchestrated by foreign forcesThe Chinese government resolutely opposes……any foreign forces attempts to intervene in Hong Kong affairsFor the Chinese Communist leadership……what’s happening in Hong Kong is evidence……that as China rises as one of the world’s most powerful countries……that the West is using every means possible to divide and to frustrate ChinaFor 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 breathI still worry what happens next……because the situation could deteriorate very rapidlyChina’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

  1. 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: https://econ.st/31O1rpu



  4. This is only Hong Kong! Imagine with Taiwan on how the people would go against Beijing government and its policy … and how Vietnam will do the same but with much greater force and measures. Quit your daydream before it turns to the actual nightmare, Beijing!

  5. These media has the right to post any biased bullshit to internet. However, the fact is the the western cant change the fact that the East is rising and no matter how biased your news it is, we will keep growing stronger. Just think wisely. China is running 1.4 billion population in the nation, why 7 million is causing so much trouble if the West is not interferring.


    The world is going to change, it is changing, this is just a drop of water, a new currency with two sides, now available for the economies of all countries, for the good of the oppressed and poor.

    1st Face: THE WEALTH

    The inexhaustible source of wealth of the countries is their volume and capacity of CONSUMPTION.

    2nd Face: THE POLICY

    New molds to make new laws with new uses. No older molds to make new laws for the same use.

    New negotiation policies with large companies (GE) multinationals.

    METHOD OF APPLICATION – Make new laws through which the (GE) MULTINATIONALS must collaborate in the maintenance and development of the basic needs of the citizens of the country where they are or intend to settle.

    a) new molds to redirect and facilitate the sale of national and local products.

    b) new molds to promote manufacturing, cultivation, fishing and any industrial project for own supply.

    c) new molds that allow to regulate the PGE, during the time that is necessary with the contribution of the benefits of the (GE).


    to (+) employment (-) less need for the benefits of GE ..

    to (-) unemployment (+) benefit for the GE.

    to (+) local manufacturing (-) commercial transport and environmental pollution.

    to (-) concentrated benefit (+) plus social welfare.

    * Sorry for the translation, it's done with Google

    God save him.




    El mundo va a cambiar, está cambiando, esto es solo una gota de agua, una nueva moneda de cambio con sus dos caras, ya disponible para las economías de todos los países, para el bien de oprimidos y pobres .

    1ª Cara: LA RIQUEZA

    La fuente inagotable de riqueza de los países es su volumen y capacidad de CONSUMO.

    2ª Cara: LA POLÍTICA

    Nuevos moldes para hacer nuevas leyes con nuevos usos. No más viejos moldes para hacer nuevas leyes para el mismo uso.

    Nuevas políticas de negociación con las grandes empresas (GE) las multinacionales.


    Hacer nuevas leyes mediante las cuales las (GE) LAS MULTINACIONALES han de colaborar en el mantenimiento y desarrollo de las necesidades básicas de los ciudadanos del país donde están o pretenden instalarse.

    a- nuevos moldes para reconducir y facilitar la venta de productos nacionales y locale

    b- nuevos moldes para promover la fabricación, el cultivo, la pesca y todo proyecto industrial para el abastecimiento propio.

    c- nuevos moldes que permitan regular los PGE, durante el tiempo que sea necesario con la aportación de los beneficios de las (GE)


    a (+) empleo (-) menos necesidad de los beneficios de las GE..

    a (-) desempleo (+) beneficio para las GE.

    a (+) fabricación local (-) transporte comercial y contaminación ambiental.

    a (-) beneficio concentrado (+ ) más bienestar social.

    * Perdón por la traducción, está realizada con Google

    Que Dios le guarde.


  7. You talk a lot of bollocks !!! Hong Kong is part of China n ALWAYS will be. You can rehome those strays !!! This ugly bitch should look in the mirror to see if she is English or American???!! Bitch deserves bullet

  8. I just wonder how many Chinese bots here talking about how fun and cool it is to live under totalitarian Chinese commie regime and that brainwashed by western propaganda protesters don't understand how happy and grateful they should be to Chinese government for having a unique chance to be oppressed for the better and prosperous future.

  9. Rule of law ??

    This all started due a Hong Kong Man who killed his pregnant girlfriend in Taiwan .
    The murdered pregnant woman family demands justice but she wont get it.
    So these protestors who are talking about "freedom" actually are supporting the murder of a pregnant woman

  10. China has no good choice because they’re NO GOOD!🤬😠💀👎🏽 Britain should never have ceded HK to China! HK should fight for independence. But then China would send in the army. Would US/NATO help HK freedom fighters. No because China is too powerful.

  11. Why is England the one always behind these unrest that happens now? Palistine-Isreal, Pakistand-India, HongKong-China…..all bc of England doing shit back in the day to them. Why is that?

  12. No matter the outcome of this HK protest, China will still be better, stronger and more important. As to HK, take care and good luck.

  13. "… Then five Hong Kong booksellers who sold material banned in mainland China disappeared …" They returned unharmed. They claim they were subjected to 'mental torture' but that is typical in ANY country when someone is arrested and put in jail – interrogation is a normal procedure. The report is one-sided.

  14. How ridiculous. Fifteen U.S. states have made it illegal for demonstrators to wear masks. This turned out to be a reason for western media to attack China

  15. In 2019 nobody wants to be ruled by a dictatorship. HK doesn't want to be ruled by the CCP. Taiwan would never willingly give up it's democracy to be ruled by Xi, dictator for life.

  16. You purposely omitted some information. Under the British rule for almost 100 years, they never had the right to vote, demonstrate, or any voice over government policies.

  17. Love and support you Hong Kong. Freedom is hard won . The world is watching China. They won’t be able to do what they’ve done in Tibet and western China simply because of what they stand to lose. The Chinese government is evil personified.

  18. Democracy and freedom are contradictory. Freedom means people can do whatever they want, but in democracy the minority is destined to obey the majority. nvm don’t wanna waste my time. Democracy and freedom have a long history, if you want to learn something, then study Peloponnesian war and constitution from Washington.

  19. England should've left this area alone. But no, imperialism and all, they decided to claim this territory and for 150-180 years these people, once from mainland China and identified regionally rather than British, slowly began to identify as British rather than from China or from their area psychologically making them pseudo British citizens. So they thought. They even gave them passports labeling them British citizens (but didn't give them access to live permently in England or the commonwealth) further changing them socially.

    In 1997 the region became Chinese. As it should have remained all those years ago. But it's one thing to change a name or change a political system or territory right, a completely different thing to undo 150-180 years of social psychological change.

    So now, 22 years after the switcheroo, shit has hit the fan and all hell breaks loose.

    Personally I think people are now starting to realise that, "nope we're not British, I cannot use this passport to immigrate to England, I am Chinese and a part of this communist system" or " wait, I'm not British but then I'm not ethnically Chinese, so where do I stand? But oh no, I'm considered Chinese too because I live here WTF". So a lot of people are feeling betrayed, lied to, and sort of in an existential crisis right now in the midst of their government system changing from quasi democratic to communist, which due to the handover is within the rights of China to do as it was their territory and it was returned to them.

    I feel sorry for the people of the area as they were sort of a lab experiment by the British, but they should have protested to stay a British territory and maintained democracy in 1997. Had they remained a British territory, they would have kept the privileges they've grown accustomed to and most likely could have gotten full citizenship that way. But alas, that didn't happen.

    Them protesting about China or Chinese authority is moot because geographically, it is Chinese. Historically, it's Chinese. The area had been controlled by them and went back being controlled by them. It hard for them to fathom, I know, but yeah that's that really.

    But to terrorise your neighborhood, burn shops, hold up your international airport, etc just keeping people from living their lives, getting jobs, having children isn't going to miraculously change the territory back to British from Chinese. No. That ship has sailed. And on top of that, now everything ceases to function properly. I wonder how people can eat when the whole area is under protest fever.

    Which sort of goes against everything don't you think? You want a functioning government but protests stop it from functioning properly. You want better concessions politically and socially but no one is working as everyone is out in the street protesting. You want peace but there you are beating people up for threatening your democracy and there they go beating you up for disrupting order. Kinda goes against what you sort of want, the whole peace and prosperity. The becoming a democracy is a moot point. The area is Chinese.

    I feel for Hong Kong people but you can't stop this train, boat, or airplane. It left the station. It's long gone. Now, I feel England should give BNOs full British citizenship to counteract this problem (because people cannot live in a system so vastly different from their own) but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

    This is a really bad break for HongKongers and I hope they can find out what to do next. Maybe immigrate to a south east Asian country? Maybe Australia can take them in? I dunno.

    Or maybe, just maybe, they can all sit down and have a beer and think about what all this was really for, what it will really change in their favor (very little I would think as the area is Chinese), what all of this is really doing and drop their gas masks and batons and go back on with life.

    Because at the end of the day you have to feed your face and support your children. Can't do that under anarchy.

  20. Thank you THE ECONOMIST, I am a Hongkonger , very appreciate you guys let the world know what happen in Hong Kong .
    The Hong Kong Police is shooting protester eye. They wanted to kill Hongkonger .
    #noextraditionbill #standwithHK #eye4hk #eyeforhk #freefromfear #policeshooting

  21. The western media is not understanding, or not reporting the real story. People like Justin Trudeau, Hilary clinton speaking out against this, and with pro-democracy talks are just there to get attention. I have been to hong kong a few weeks ago, and what's happening is not this "oppression".

    These demonstrators/protestors are armed, they also have weapons, tear gas, and things. They shine lasers at the police, disrupting public services. This is not just about the extradition bill anymore, it is a bunch of indoctrinated punk ass college students and others causing public disturbance. They harass people at airports, and is why Hong Kong international airport had to close for a few days. Is this the definition of "peaceful protestors" as the western media understands?


  22. At this point nothing is at stake for China… Hong Kong is only 3% of Chinas income at this point and that is exactly why China is doing this now… Hong Kong served it's purpose and now it is time to cull it. Sad but true and Hong Kong will get no help because China is too big to mess with… Basically Hong Kong will be sacrificed on the alter of democracy.

  23. It would been nice if The economist investigated whether there was any validity in the claims that there was any external interference – that is what we call unbiased reporting.

  24. Don't get it wrong CCP=Nazi. The world must stand very firmly because China is the biggest liar in the world and becomes a greedy arrogant pig threatening the world's peace and environment

  25. If you listen to interview answers, the protestors are giving brainwashed answers, similar to other protests in other parts of the world which were later revealed to be supported by a superpower country not Russia or China.

  26. I saw a comment supporting the Exradition Bill and I just want to say to everyone supporting it. China has a 99% prosecution which is very concerning as that means that most who are arrested in Hong Kong will be prosecuted even if they shouldn’t, this would also mean that Hong Kong could arrest someone falsely and send them to China because they had anti-China opinions and they could also arrest journalists and send them to torture camps in China (yes, tourist is legal in China).

  27. 你可以不喜欢中国,也可以不喜欢共产党。但是香港是中国的香港,香港问题毕竟是中国内部事务,与它国无关。如果西方国家觉得你们需要做点什么,我希望你们接收这些向往你们国度的人们.

  28. Just curious, why dont you spend some time to explain the current deeply-rooted social wealth concentration problem? How did UK government and local tycoons collude to make 80% of hk land not suitable for residential and commercial usage, so it effectively enabled HK government and top families to milk everybody in HK forever. Most hk ppl stay in cage-sized apt but they do care how wild animals shall live in much bigger preserved park. Let us solve the problem one by one. Break down the tycoons and release the land supply. 80% of ppl on the street would be happy and rest 20% can continue pursuing democratic fight with mainland government.

  29. I see bias here. I hear bias here. Selective truth to lots of cover-ups. Thumbs down for this video. Rated three thumbs down 👎👎👎

  30. I am a Hong Kong citizen. Please help to share this video. Many thanks.

  31. Fake News.
    Aren't you even ashamed of yourselves for creating such shit?
    Pathetic, no wonder why people call you mindless NPCs.

  32. What nonsense, the government has completely changed since the 80s and if Xi wanted to crush these protests it would be done already. Troops do not affect finances, the world wants what China has, Hong Kong is CHINESE and in CHINA. America is yet again funding this unrest and this nonsense style of videos in YouTube. I live in canada and get tired of hearing cantonese speaking hong kong denegrating their mainland neighbors as inferior yet expecting and expounding all the rights and freedoms of Canada. Hong Kong is not superior and Xi is leading his people to greatest prosperity China has seen in modern times. Xi tolerates the childish US President for the greater good of his country and takes measured assertive actions and he is now similarly tolerating the protesters entitled american funded childishness.

  33. Oh, come on Economist, you are suppose to be impartial, disappointment, This is simply poor reporting and perspective.

  34. If the Hong Kong government is a government of the people of Hong Kong, then they should listen to the people and there would be no violence.

  35. 5:39 that white and blue protesters were there for a Pro-government, Pro-police demonstration. Over 150,000 Pro-police protesters showed up that day.

  36. Hong Kong deserves to an Independent Democratic Nation where Their will a sense of Freedom..Communist China should be go back..

  37. Given how the protests have panned out, I can confidently say that the people of Hong Kong don't stand a chance against the Communist Party of China (CCP)

  38. 其实这些媒体下面的评论都有点逗,只要是和他们不一样的观点,就会说你被洗脑了,被控制了,是收钱发帖,是什么机器人。。。开始会长篇大论去讲道理。他们的回应就是“我不听我不听”,这很可悲。其实我想大陆朋友们反而应该是思考和讨论民主议题最多的人,因为我们真心实意地经历,知道过自己体制里的问题,也看到别的国家社会他们体制下的问题。我觉得我们是在寻找一个更好的道路。然后某些欧洲人就说,民主自由就是只有他们那种模式。这样挺可笑的。。。香港台湾地区的同胞,其实也是被媒体引导了,媒体贩卖的恐慌和害怕的确很吸引人和有市场,直接导致让他们感觉大陆就像个1984里的封闭国家。我只能说,那不是真的,我们的文化是同源,甚至于我们经历的社会发展阶段都很相似。只要不触犯法律,根本没人去管你和监视你的吧。。。

  39. Without revealing your identity fighting for freedom? Haha pussies, that is why you will never get your beloved democracy.

  40. But who can blame the people in Hong Kong!! Who would want China to rule over them. And be part of the Chinese Communist party! I don't blame them at all!! Who doesn't want to have any rights!! Honestly Great Britain should have kept Hong Kong!!


  42. and they are waving the american flag as a symbol of there fight for freedom its to see the that my flag still stands for freedom USA

  43. And China is on the the UN for this …. when British left there was not a reason to handover an independent China 🇨🇳 and they meddle with Kashmir

  44. It is easy to understand why the HongKongers are protesting. The Gini coefficient is .539, way too high for a part of China that’s enjoying a per capita income almost 5 times the per capita on the mainland. The rich are getting filthy rich, the poor are living in closet size space, with no future in sight. The young, even the ones with university degrees, will never be able to afford to own a nome.
    The poverty level is about 20%, although HK enjoys a gdp of $46,000 US per capita. The irony is the majority of the protesters are batting for the rich…..the same rich people who won’t pay them a living wage. If only they knew what’s happening in the developed countries whose form of government they are trying to adopt.
    In contrast, mainland China’s poverty level is only 1.2%.

  45. crush HK? for what ? for freedom ?for democracy?why the goon hiding their face ,because they scared to lose their job in the future. scared to take responsibility。ridiculous The Economist
    ,as we all know , HK is parts of china .please leran more history

  46. "Hong Kong people are to run Hong Kong"
    There's you mistake. The British are assholes. They should have never left Hong Kong. The British left India, and now the Indians are screwing left & right. Same with South Africa and Rhodesia. Everytime the British leave, the place goes to pot! The British are assholes.

  47. I was a protestor in Hong Kong. But they beat me up because I wanted to quit. I didn’t want the violence anymore. We were being paid. DO NOT TRUST THE PROTESTORS!!!!

  48. Hong Kong's banking system is currently the most over-leveraged in the world because of the spread between interest rates in Mainland China and rates in the US, the latter of which Hong Kong is pegged to.

    Hong Kong used to be China's financial hub to the rest of the world, as well as its main export port. Neither of these is true anymore and the US-dollar peg is unsustainable. They should have broken the peg when the financial crisis hit but didn't, so now they really have no choice but to align themselves fully with the mainland.

    These protests are pointless.

  49. i m from mainland, traveled to several contries, worked with colleagues from different contries. They are shocked by what they see and feel after they live in mainland for a while, which is much different from what they were told mainland China like. Once again, Chinese goverment is not torturing us, to the contrary, they are kind of afraid of us.

  50. lets be truly honest here we all even the HK people expect china's stinky footmen to meddle here and there till 2047, what we din't expect is that china got greedy and try to accelerate things waaay much faster … can't you just wait till 2047 ??
    Now instead of being seen as china, you are being degraded, shit on, and beijing is a joke to us all (exclude those who sold their souls to beijing). Had you wait till 2047 then do all this shit stuff, I myself would have stand by china as the agreement is completed and upholded.

  51. I myself am from Thailand, I think Thai people should take arms and protest like this(peacefully, of course). I AM quite moved by this. I want to go out and protest the current government that obviously got elected through bribery and corruption. But the Thai people are too afraid(maybe). I will NOT tolerate this anymore,but I'm just a 15 years old kid,what can I do?Absolutely nothing. They treat the new generations as just a bunch of brainless kids. If we make a political statement, they'll just say that we're brainwashed and just saying nonsense. More and more people are getting poor,and the poor are getting more,and more poor. Our economy goes to shit, the government supports all the big buisness, give free money to poor people to gained their votes, it's just endless corruption. I don't even know why I'm typing all this, it's not like a 15 years old kid can do anything political related.

  52. Biased media, no more to comment. We've been accustomed to Western media's hypocrisy and double standards, We'll keep emerging until surpass you and leave you guys whose minds are full of ideology in the dark.

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