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How Long Before Hong Kong Suffers Bloody Communist Crackdown?

Trump on Hong Kong
The liberty-loving citizens of Hong Kong have been protesting the Communist Chinese government’s arbitrary decision to change the non-Communist enclave’s extradition law for several months now, and predictions of a bloody crackdown are being made with increasing frequency and urgency.

Protests began in March, but they kicked off in earnest in June. They were sparked by widespread opposition to a now-shelved extradition bill, but have since expanded to demands for full democracy and police accountability.

As many a 1.5 million Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets waving American flags and demanding freedom. The protesters on Wednesday night observed a moment of silence at the Yuen Long MTR station, New Territories of northwest Hong Kong, marking the one-month anniversary of a violent July 21 incident when peaceful demonstrators, wearing black, were attacked by mobs that were dressed in white and linked to local organized crime.

Police in riot gear gathered outside the station and remained there, generally leaving the protesters alone. According to NBC News the siege lasted about two hours before most of the black-clad protesters left, at around midnight.

According to CNN’s Tara John, as the protest movement is leaderless, not everyone has the same goals in mind. But in general, five main demands have emerged: withdraw the bill, for leader Carrie Lam to step down, an inquiry into police brutality, for those who have been arrested to be released, and greater democratic freedoms.

Ms. John reports Hong Kong's international airport has become a major focus of the protests after police made their first significant appearance at the airport since protests began there five days ago. The airport, which is one of the busiest in Asia, has emerged as a key protest target as anti-government demonstrators looked to take their message directly to the international community.

At the airport last weekend, leaflets in Chinese, English, French, Korean, Japanese and other languages were handed out to arriving international visitors, explaining the causes of the unrest -- as protesters see it -- and the demands of the opposition movement.

Showcasing the slick design that has characterized the protests, Ms. John reports other pamphlets and posters also advertised planned demonstrations as "new tourist spots," and advised tourists what to do if they were caught in the protests during their visit.

Nearly 1,000 flights were affected by the protests on Monday and Tuesday, according to Ms. John’s coverage of information released by the CEO of the Hong Kong Airport Authority. A court has since issued an injunction which restricts people from accessing the airport.

Businesses in Hong Kong, both international and local, have also faced pressure and accusations of acting in concert or sympathizing with the protesters. Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flagship carrier and a major local employer, has been ordered by Chinese aviation authorities to ban staff who take part in protests from traveling to China reported M. John.

In a statement released early Wednesday morning and reported by CNN’s Tara John, Hong Kong police denounced the "radical and violent acts by protestors" at the airport, and a government spokesperson described what happened at the airport as overstepping "the bottom line of a civilized society."

In China, coverage of the protests has shifted from censorship to focus on clashes and disorder, with protestors labeled as "violent mobs" and "criminals." On Monday, Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, China's top body in charge of affairs in the city, said the protests showed "signs of terrorism" and suggested that they were the real threat to rule of law.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly attacked police officers with extremely dangerous tools," he said. "They have already constituted serious violent crimes and have begun to show signs of terrorism. This is a gross violation of the rule of law and social order in Hong Kong, which is endangering the lives and safety for Hong Kong citizens."

Simone McCarthy, Laurie Chen and Sarah Zheng  of the South China Morning Post report the Hong Kong anti-government protests have now turned into a flashpoint in an information war between China and the US, after American social media giants Twitter and Facebook struck back at what they said was a state-backed disinformation campaign focused on events in the city.

Both companies announced on Monday that they had suspended accounts on their platforms they alleged were part of a Chinese government-backed, coordinated campaign. Twitter said the accounts were meant “to sow political discord in Hong Kong.”

The accounts suspended by Twitter and Facebook on Monday were not linked to China’s state-run media organizations. Rather they were part of a network of fake accounts whose described tactics appear akin to the Russian misinformation campaigns coordinated to sway American public opinion in the lead-up the 2016 US election.

“China is copying Russia and has set up a large number of accounts on Facebook and Twitter to pump out anti-protester propaganda filled with factually untrue statements and pictures. [Such accounts are] an attempt to polarize opinion, which Twitter and Facebook have publicly stated they don’t want to do, so they are acting on their new policies,” said Victor Shih, a professor at the University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy in the report from Mss. McCarthy, Chen and Zheng.

On Facebook, Communist Chinese government accounts were removed for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” identified by Facebook, including posts that compared protesters to cockroaches, accused journalists of corruption and of colluding with “rioters”, and claimed that protesters, not police, had been responsible for the widely reported injury of a woman who may lose sight in one eye.

Facebook said it decided to take down accounts related to the Hong Kong protests because they were associated with the Chinese government, rather than over the content they posted reported McCarthy, Chen and Zheng.

The escalating rhetoric has sparked fears that China could be mulling an intervention of force concluded CNN’s Tara John.

President Trump called for calm via a Tuesday afternoon tweet in which he claimed that US intelligence showed "the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!"

The President’s admonition aside, we believe it is just a matter of time before the Hong Kong protests end in bloody repression from the Communist Chinese government. A totalitarian system, like Chinese Communism, cannot abide dissent or non-conformity.

As evidenced by the Communist government’s prohibition against travel by those participating in the protests, the contagion of demands by Hong Kong citizens for freedom and government accountability represent an existential threat to the system of social credit-imposed conformity that now undergirds the Communist Chinese system. The United States must be prepared to confront the Communist Chinese strongly and firmly if and when the much-anticipated crackdown comes.

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