But Beijing will also lose. It has once again shown that the regime is intolerant, unable to accept any degree of dissent, even when risks are marginal. President Xi recently repeated that eventually he wants to apply the Hong Kong governing system in Taiwan, even as he ensures that the Taiwanese will never agree. Other Asian nations, already worried about their increasingly assertive Chinese neighbor, have found new reasons for concern. And no matter what happens, Hong Kong’s vibrant economy—still performing important services for the mainland—could suffer major damage at a time when China itself has growing economic problems.
In the end, it will be easy to find losers when the Hong Kong demonstrations somehow come to an end. But there won’t be any winners.
Robert Keatley is a former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post.
Image: Flickr/yeungming/CC by 2.0