MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) - Chinese authorities are convinced that the US “is trying to stir up … a color revolution in Hong Kong,” said Dr. Willy Lam, adjunct professor of history and political economy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and professor of China and global studies at Akita International University, Japan.
Indeed, US officials have thrown their moral support for the pro-democracy activists rallying in the global financial hub. However, there is no evidence that they’ve provided financial or material assistance to the protesters, the analyst stressed in an interview with Radio VR.
In August, Beijing announced that it would be vetting those, who want to run for the position of Hong Kong’s chief executive in election slated for 2017, sparking large-scale protests. Willy Lam pointed out that the general public definitely wants “a bigger say in their future”, including the way in which the chief executive is selected. If Beijing’s decision is not overturned, what will happen will not be a real election “by any stretch of the imagination,” professor insisted.
“Even though most people in Hong Kong are considered to be “economic animals”, who care mostly about the economy, they also feel that they should be entitled to a higher degree of autonomy, which has been guaranteed to Hong Kong” when it became part of China, the expert explained. Hong Kong, reunited with China on July 1, 1997, is governed according to a “one country, two systems” principle. The 7-million region enjoys wide autonomy in all areas except foreign relations and defense.
Many experts underline that the Chinese leadership, including Xi Jinping, are caught in a dilemma. On the one hand, they don’t want to look weak should protests continue. “On the other hand, if Beijing were to consider using the People’s Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong, … [they] would risk a major international crisis. There would be severe criticism coming from other countries,” Willy Lam warned. Currently, about 6,000 Chinese soldiers are stationed at the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison in the Special Administrative Region.
The professor doubts that Hong Kong authorities will use strength again to disperse protesters saying the administration under Leung Chun-ying, the incumbent chief executive, has learned his lesson. On Sunday, the police were ordered to use 87 rounds of tear gas to scatter demonstrators. “But this proved to be counterproductive, because the use of violence has actually [encouraged] more ordinary Hong Kong citizens [to join] the Occupy Central movement,” spearheading the protests. He stressed that rallies and sit-ins are peaceful, with participants even taking away the rubbish.