Manipulation of public opinion and pressure on the region’s businesses, universities and judiciary are part of the strategy
As protests in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition law enter their third month, the prospect of any resolution to the unrest seems a long way off. However, the past week has given an indication of the strategy of the governments in Beijing and Hong Kong in dealing with protesters.
The growing pro-democracy movement achieved early success in June with the suspension of the proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspects from Hong Kong to mainland China. This followed unprecedented peaceful demonstrations that brought up to two million people on to the streets and, separately, police violence. When Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, declared that she was withdrawing the bill, the Beijing authorities, having distanced themselves from the unpopular law, seemed to be lying low.