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China could take a ‘much harder’ line against Hong Kong now that National Day celebrations are over

China could take a ‘much harder’ line against Hong Kong now that National Day celebrations are over

Now that China’s 70th anniversary celebrations are over, Beijing could take a “much harder” line on Hong Kong if violence continues to mount in the city, says a professor at Cornell University. “I think the escalation of protests on the day of the anniversary celebrations has already tested Beijing’s patience and the situation now seems ripe for Beijing to stage a direct intervention,” Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University, told CNBC on Wednesday.

Police shot an 18-year-old protester in Hong Kong on Tuesday as violence escalated in the Chinese territory, despite a ban on rallies that day. It came the same day China celebrated the 70th year of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule with a massive display of its military might.

The shooting in Hong Kong was the first such known incident since pro-democracy demonstrations in the territory began peacefully on June 6. The rallies have since turned increasingly violent. Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” principle in 1997. Since then, citizens of the semi-autonomous city have been given some legal and economic freedoms not given to citizens in mainland China.

“It’s difficult, especially in light of the rhetoric we saw coming out of the 70th anniversary celebrations from Xi Jinping and others, to see China willing to stay on the sidelines much longer, especially … if the violence continues to mount,” Prasad said, adding that any overt use of force before October 1 would have “tarnished” the celebrations.

China could take a ‘much harder’ line against Hong Kong now that National Day celebrations are over, CNBC, Oct 02

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