Carrie Lam has met with a group of “young people” after the violent events yesterday (link to South China Morning Post article).
The response of Hong Kong’s government continues to be weak and ineffective. Dialogue with “young people” is good, but until the Hong Kong government is willing to negotiate in good faith and respond to the protesters “five demands” in a positive way, it will accomplish nothing.
This is what is causing the stalemate between the Hong Kong government and the protesters.
First, Carrie Lam and the Hong Kong government’s intransigence on the extradition bill and other demands:
According to a source at the meeting, some attendees told Lam it was not necessary for her to satisfy the five demands all at once. But Lam could consider completely withdrawing the bill first and establishing the independent inquiry, they told the chief executive.
Lam responded that it would be difficult to completely withdraw the bill but stopped short of elaborating on the reasons, the source said. She also said the police had already been under huge pressure from the protesters’ accusations of excessive use of force. SCMP article
And, the protesters do not trust the Hong Kong government:
Claiming he [Chris Chan, one of the protesters] represented 100 radical protesters, and was in touch with total of 300, Chan said the groups had no intention at all to hold a dialogue with the government. Previous dialogues had only led to protesters losing out, he said. SCMP article
The message delivered to Carrie Lam at the meeting is reasonable. Carrie Lam has herself said the extradition bill is “dead,” so why not completely withdraw it? The protesters are right to be concerned that as soon as the pressure is off of the government, the bill with be re-introduced and quickly passed before anyone can do anything about it.
The Hong Kong government’s (and thus the CCP’s) refusal to negotiate in good faith and lack of any kind of creativity or willingness to take the protesters’ demands seriously is the ultimate reason behind the crisis. Of course, this kind of inflexibility and lack of vision is a prime characteristic of totalitarian states. The protesters need to adjust their tactics accordingly. Direct confrontation just leads to entrenchment by the government. We believe that non-violent tactics will give better results.
An article in The Strategist by Michael Shoebridge argues that Beijing is orchestrating events in Hong Kong to force a bloody crackdown. He is quite possibly correct – we have wondered if at least some of the violent attacks on the HK police could be by CCP “plants” among the protesters. If events in Hong Kong are being pushed toward a violent conclusion by Beijing, it is all the more reason for the protesters to adopt non-violent tactics. Confrontations, as we said earlier, just play into the CCP’s hands.