After a multi-hour violent incident protesters at the Hong Kong International Airport two hostages held by the demonstrators were successfully extracting the victims of the demonstrators. The victim, according to the Global Times is a reporter of the pro-China publication. Identified as Fu Guohao, the editor-in-chief for Global Times was bound and beaten until he was finally rescued by Emergency Services. Initial calls by the police to release the injured Fu Guohao were denied by the protesters.
Troubling is the increasing mob behavior of the crowd at the airport and Joshua Wong, the media darling, blaming the police in a Sky News live interview. The demands are like the flawed narrative of this individual summarized in terminating the extradition bill, alleged police brutality (an all time favorite) and self-determination or elections.
To examine his rants on Sky News yelling at one point at the reporter the first, seems lost in translation is dead. The Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam killed the bill. Now the formal withdrawal may not be around the corner immediately but this is a moot point since Hong Kong will be fully integrated in the legal system anyway.
The point is lost in translation this was part of the handover protocols from the former colonial power. The U.S. prevailing view, much regurgitated in U.S. press coverage is baiting the Chinese to move troops into Hong Kong and turn global sentiments against Beijing.
The second demand, of police brutality is not matched by the increasingly violent protesters adopting mob behavior. It is now only a question of time when the mob turns deadly. Today’s episode of taking hostages on the airport, beatings and mob trials raises the question on how long the administration in Hong Kong will allow the demonstrations to go without response. The exact numbers of injured police officers and demonstrators remain unclear but reports surface suggests about 72 police and protesters were injured in the melees. The numbers are likely higher. Hence the second demand is not realistic since the police is responding to the protests.
The last demand is the core of the demonstrations. Self-rule. Very unlikely and not in line with the colonial powers handed over of power to China. Hong Kong is China. The right of self-rule is strained and depending on the movements tendency for violence Beijing seeing Hong Kong as a Trojan horse to undermine China, views in Beijing are likely hardening towards greater independence.
The economic impacts are slowly hitting home. The Hang Seng Index fell 1.7% on Wednesday, with the protests partly weighing on trading activity. With the shut down of International air travel the Hong Kong economy will take a beating. This could be an emerging turning point with the public opinion turning against the protesters.
Many businesses, including major financial service companies such as HSBC Holdings, Standard Chartered, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, told their employees to work from home due to safety concerns. Many small shops in the area also were closed.
What is obvious, despite all the good intention the protests which are hailed for its innovation and well organized format has for the first time shown the ugly underbelly of hate, mob behavior and brute violence. How long before the Hong Kong administration is forced to take action since inaction will not result in less violence but a greater amount of uncertainty.