With buildup of forces on border, China displays waning tolerance for Hong Kong protests

With buildup of forces on border, China displays waning tolerance for Hong Kong protests


AMNA NAWAZ: In Hong Kong today, calm largely
prevailed.
But the city braced for more large protests
this weekend, as Beijing delivered more harsh
rhetoric.
Chinese security forces mustered just across
Hong Kong’s border, and President Trump inserted
himself into the tense standoff.
Special correspondent Bruce Harrison reports
now from Hong Kong.
BRUCE HARRISON, PBS NEWSHOUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:
Soldiers marched amid a sea of paramilitary
vehicles parked near the border, dividing
China from Hong Kong.
Chinese military exercises today — a reminder
of Beijing’s thinning patience with its territory.
It’s another warning against protests engulfing
Hong Kong which target Beijing’s efforts to
whittle away at Hong Kong’s autonomy.
And today, the rhetoric from top Chinese officials
again matched the military flex.
LIU XIAOMING, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.:
Their moves are severe and violent offences,
and already show signs of terrorism.
BRUCE HARRISON: But Hong Kongers are preparing
for another weekend of demonstrations, which
have veered into violent clashes with Hong
Kong police.
Legal experts are warning Hong Kong’s government
may also call on Beijing’s army garrison stationed
in Hong Kong to intervene.
DAVID LAMPTON, STANFORD UNIVERSITY ASIA-PACIFIC
RESEARCH CENTER: If China commits to use force,
I presume it will use the force necessary
to quell things and one could —
BRUCE HARRISON: David Lampton is a research
fellow at Stanford University’s Asia Pacific
Research Center.
DAVID LAMPTON: So, I think Beijing has not
decided whether or not to use force, hopes
not to, but in the end, if it’s that or control
from the viewpoint of Beijing, I have little
doubt they would use the force they think
necessary to quickly subdue it.
BRUCE HARRISON: Today, President Trump expressed
confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping
would find a solution.
TRUMP: I really would like to see China in
a humane way solve the problem in Hong Kong,
humanely solve the problem in the Hong Kong,
and I think they can do it very quickly.
I said yesterday, I really have a lot of confidence
in President Xi.
I know that they sat down with their representatives.
I have no doubt he would solve that problem
quickly.
BRUCE HARRISON: But hopes for a dialogue may
be just that.
DAVID LAMPTON: The idea of Xi talking to protesters
probably from a Chinese pointed of view is
even a worse idea, because the Chinese have
some experience of that in 1989 when the then-Premier
Li Peng talked to the protesters.
One of the protesters, the lead one talking
with him came in in pajama, humiliated the
premier, and that probably even accelerated
the move on the protesters in Tiananmen.
BRUCE HARRISON: As the standoff between China’s
mainland and Hong Kong stiffens, many in Beijing
feel it’s only a matter of time before their
government cracks down.
ZHENG ZHIHUA, BEIJING RESIDENT (through translator):
The Chinese national government will not allow
you to do this, causing chaos like this.
You can tell people about your complaints,
but if you use these extreme means, then in
the future, you’ll run into trouble.
BRUCE HARRISON: Some Hong Kongers are growing
weary of the chaos, too.
TSUI CHE, HONG KONG RESIDENT (through translator):
What are the core values of Hong Kong?
They are democracy, freedom, fairness and
justice.
But is it democracy for the rioters to beat
me if I don’t agree with what they say?
BRUCE HARRISON: And the inconveniences, as
some residents call them, will almost certainly
continue this weekend.
A number of demonstrations are planned on
Friday and Saturday, including rallies of
students and teachers.
But it’s often been the marches through Hong
Kong’s streets that descend into violence
between police and protestors.
And another long march is scheduled for Sunday,
testing the patience of the local government
and Beijing.
For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Bruce Harrison,
in Hong Kong.

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