Austin Bay has posted an article on the Hong Kong protests with observations from Michael Yon, who has been present at many of the protests, observing and reporting.
Police overreaction and treating protestors as criminals enraged Hong Kongers (the name many prefer). The escalation process began as protests “drifted into general civil unrest where the obvious majority of people were just sick of the police and government in totality. The general population seems to view the government as illegitimate.” Yon cited the July 1 incident as an early indicator of this sentiment. On that date, protestors broke into Hong Kong’s legislative council offices. He witnessed the event firsthand.Austin Bay at StrategyPage
“I’ve been in more than 40 protests so far and can say with certainty that the mood becomes more violent week by week.”Michael Yon, quoted in StrategyPage article
Austin Bay’s article and Michael Yon’s first-hand observations are in line with our observations of Chinese and Hong Kong media reports. The recent police brutality and complete intransigence by the Chinese and Hong Kong governments does not bode well. Rather than being cowed into submission, the protesters are becoming more and more angry and willing to physically confront the police in situations where they have an advantage of numbers. The police are likewise becoming more violent and out-of-control, with several instances of obvious police brutality documented in video recordings.
Bay’s article concludes:
Beijing must de-escalate the Hong Kong crisis. If the regime resorts to force and kills hundreds, if not thousands, of Hong Kong citizens, President Donald Trump will use that heinous act to unite the world against communist China.Auston Bay on StrategyPage
The question is how to de-escalate. The protesters do not trust Beijing nor the HK government, so concrete, verifiable steps need to be taken that will satisfy the protesters. As we said in our post from yesterday, Beijing and the HK government must carry out the measures spelled out in the protesters’ Five Demands.