Tear Gas Hong Kong Time cover

How do you stop a city in its tracks? By bringing Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest transit hubs, to a standstill. Hundreds of flights were canceled and countless travelers stranded in what appears to have been the largest-ever shutdown of a major airport.

The occupation came to a halt the following day in a brief surge of violence, as protesters turned on at least two people ostensibly within their ranks—detaining and injuring a reporter for a Chinese state—controlled newspaper and a man suspected of being an undercover Chinese officer disguised as an activist. Riot police stepped in to break up the fracas, this time without the tear gas and rubber bullets used freely in other skirmishes. One officer was caught on a cell-phone video drawing a handgun in the middle of a chaotic tussle, but did not fire.

The tension in that scene defines the battle for Hong Kong midway through its third month. The city’s embattled leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, warned earlier that the protests risk pushing Hong Kong further “into an abyss,” as fears began to spread that Chinese law enforcement might intervene. Joining the hum of paranoia rippling across social media, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had received intelligence that troops were massing at the border. Before sharing undated footage of what appeared to be Chinese military vehicles in transit, the President tweeted: “Everyone should be calm and safe!”

Photograph by Adam Ferguson for TIME

There is no longer any doubt that Hong Kong is on a collision course with the Chinese government, which has ruled the former British colony since 1997. What began as an uprising against a single piece of legislation has spiraled into all-out rebellion against Beijing’s encroaching authoritarianism, and a demand for more democracy. Peaceful processions have morphed into pitched battles on the dense residential streets. Lam and her largely pro-Beijing government have all but vanished, hiding behind columns of anonymous riot police and making occasional, highly scripted remarks to the press. The increasingly radical nature of the protests has not, as authorities expected, diminished their popular support. But the demonstrators are nonetheless bracing for a lethal blow as the government’s patience wears thin.

Long before the city streets became a battleground, China had already begun waging a war for Hong Kong’s soul. Under President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party has quietly used its levers of social …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

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‘We Are at the Point of No Return’: How a Series of Protests Escalated Into an All-Out Battle for the Soul of Hong Kong

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