Bloomberg reports Hong Kong Cancels All Remaining Monday Flights as Protesters Swarm Airport.
Thousands of black-clad protesters on Monday packed the arrival area, where they had gathered for a three-day sit-in that was originally planned to end last night. The protests, initially sparked by opposition to a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, have become increasingly violent in recent weeks, with demonstrators targeting public transportation in a bid to pressure the government.
China stepped up its rhetoric on Monday, saying protesters have committed serious crimes and showed signs of “terrorism.” Hong Kong has come to a “critical juncture” and all people who care about its future should say no to violence, Yang Guang, a spokesman for its Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters on Monday as protesters gathered at the airport.
Stoking those fears, the Communist Party-backed Global Times reported on Monday that the Chinese People’s Armed Police have been assembling across the border in Shenzhen ahead of “apparent large-scale exercises.”
Protests 10th Consecutive Weekend
This all started when Hong Kong CEO, Carrie Lam, appointed by mainland China, passed a bill that would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China for various charges.
Protests started immediately and never stopped.
Lam rescinded the order in a half-assed manner, not taking it off the books, just suspending the measure. This further infuriated the protesters who want Lam to stand down.
UK Caught in Fray
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab was caught in the fray for calling Carrie Lam.
The Independent reports ‘Simply wrong’: China slams Raab after call to Hong Kong chief executive
Mr Raab called the chief executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam on Friday to stress the need for “meaningful political dialogue” and “a fully independent investigation” into the violence – but was immediately to stop interfering by Chinese authorities.
Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the days when Britain ruled Hong Kong were “long gone” and asked to “stop making random and inflammatory accusations”.
“The Chinese side seriously urges the UK to stop its interference in China’s internal affairs and stop making random and inflammatory accusations on Hong Kong.”
Opinion: Carrie Lam No Longer in Charge
The South China Morning Post comments In Hong Kong, neither Beijing nor pro-establishment politicians are even pretending Carrie Lam is still in charge.
Beijing has spared no effort in making sure everyone knows it backs embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. In fact, that’s one of the reasons for the high-powered, high-profile seminar last week, designed to quash dissent within the pro-establishment camp.
Never mind, of course, that Lam and her administration came out of their two-week absence with an utterly pointless press conference, where the only bit of news was Lam basically declaring herself a security risk and persona non grata. The 500 elites were ordered like rank and file to support Lam, a chief executive who has resorted to having her office release photos of her working and visiting places (à la North Korea), including a wet market, a park and police station.
Stranger yet is how Lam is being inadvertently undermined by loyalist veterans like Maria Tam Wai-chu. As deputy director of the Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Tam spoke to the press in Shenzhen, almost sounding like she, not Lam, is the chief executive.
That just reinforces the notion that the Lam administration is only a puppet. By speaking in Lam’s absence – while our chief executive chooses to venture out in public unannounced and then release photos to the press afterwards – Tam is doing the Hong Kong government no favours.
How Long Before a Major Crackdown?
China won't put up with this much longer. I expect a major crackdown.
China will demand Lam stand down, gracefully.
That's the dilemma for China as it will not want to be seen giving in to the protesters it now labels as "terrorists".
Question of the Day
Meanwhile, here's the question of the day: How long before Trump starts a Tweetstorm on Hong Kong?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock