Published: Wed, December 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

A Tiananmen Solution in Hong Kong? | by Minxin Pei

Demonstrations started in June in opposition to a proposed extradition bill, which would have allowed suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Flights were suspended for a second day at Hong Kong's worldwide airport on Tuesday, as protesters came out in droves to shut down the regional transport hub. They repeated the same tactic on Tuesday afternoon, but with more confrontations with passengers as emotions boiled over. Police have acknowledged using "decoy" officers, and some protesters over the weekend were seen being arrested by men dressed like demonstrators - in black and wearing face masks.

In her first public appearance since demonstrators succeeded in shutting down the city's global airport on Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it could take a "long time for Hong Kong to recover", but she insisted that the authorities were still capable of managing the situation.

Demonstrators also turned on two men, fuelled by suspicions within their ranks about undercover police or spies.

By early Wednesday, most protesters had left and many flights were operating as scheduled in the morning.

While China has yet to threaten using the army - as it did against pro-democracy protesters in Beijing in 1989 - recent police exercises across Hong Kong's border with mainland China were a sign of its ability to crush the demonstrations, even at a cost to Hong Kong's reputation as a safe haven for business and worldwide exchange.

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On Tuesday morning, the city's leader, Carrie Lam, gave an at-times emotional press conference in which she warned of unsafe consequences if escalating violence was not curbed.

Authorities in Beijing on Monday described some of the violence as "terrorism", and state-run media this week began promoting videos showing security forces gathering in Shenzhen just across the border from Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, President Trump tweeted, "Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. I hope everyone is safe and secure!" Some 21 countries and regions have issued travel safety alerts for their citizens traveling to Hong Kong, saying protests have become more violent and unpredictable.

However, Trump has said little to support Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, drawing criticism from both sides of the American political spectrum.

Why are there protests in Hong Kong?

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