Update: China-at-Seventy–Shooting Students (Again)

Today is the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Throughout the mainland we saw large-scale military parades, heard patriotic songs, and, under Mao’s enormous portrait overlooking Peking’s Tian-An-Men Square, heard China’s president, Xi Jinping, call for renewed and sustained national strength. 

Yesterday I wrote that I was not sanguine about how the intensifying four-month conflict between Peking and Hong Kong’s Democracy Activists would sort itself.

Today, we learn that a Hong Kong policeman shot a democracy demonstrator in the chest during one of many protests for greater openness. The young man is reported as yet alive and in hospital. The activist may well be the first demonstrator hit with a live round throughout these many weeks.

Hong Kong has been, for its constant street-vibrancy, fringe, semi-underground art and culture, and remarkable beauty living so much in concert with an energetic internationalist business environment, my favorite city. It can be all that, again.

It is Peking’s civic, moral, and financial charge, and it is in its interest, and it would live up to its 1999 agreement with Great Britain, if it would summon the strength to turn this about immediately. Peking must know it. Mr Xi must dig deep, call up his own strength, and demonstrate the wisdom to short-circuit a certain disaster.

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