As China celebrated its 70th anniversary with a hell march of monumental proportions on October 1, 2019, a defiant Hong Kong pro-democracy movement fielded a strategy of protests to demonstrate its unflinching opposition to Beijing’s communist encroachment. The protests did not leave China’s authoritarian ruler, Xi Jinping, indifferent.
According to Jean-Philippe Béja, research emeritus professor at the center for international studies and research at Sciences-Po in Paris, “to the Communist party, the events in Hong Kong signal its failure. A generation raised under the red flag not only has not become ‘patriotic’ as it hoped but has become increasingly estranged from China.”
“Hongkongers’ frustrations have exploded into three months of street protests that show no sign of abating. Demonstrations have seen riot police firing teargas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and bean bag rounds at protesters who in turn have thrown petrol bombs, vandalized metro stations and set street fires. Some trampled and burned the national flag. Protesters call the movement a revolution to “reclaim” and “liberate” Hong Kong.
As such, Xi Jinping’s response during the October 1 celebrations was thinly veiled threats toward Hong Kong. “No force can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and Chinese nation,” he said, adding that Beijing would “maintain the lasting prosperity and stability” of Hong Kong and Macau. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was pictured smiling among other dignitaries during the parade.
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