After China placed limitations on candidates for Hong Kong’s city leader, Hong Kong erupted in protest. This, of course, presents a large challenge to Xi Jinping and the PRC. Edward Wong and Chris Buckley write for the Times:
China’s Communist Party has ample experience extinguishing unrest. For years it has used a deft mix of censorship, arrests, armed force and, increasingly, money, to repress or soften calls for political change.
But as he faces massive street demonstrations in Hong Kong pressing for more democracy in the territory, the toolbox of President Xi Jinping of China appears remarkably empty.
It’s an especially difficult challenge for Beijing because their options are so limited. If they come to an agreement with the protesters, or even remove the limits entirely, it will not only show weakness on Beijing’s part (something they are loathe to do), but could encourage similar protests in China proper. But they also have little ability to clamp down on protests in Hong Kong.
This is as large a threat to the PRC we’ve seen in years, and it has the potential to rival the 1989 protests.