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Hong Kong: the storm before the crackdown?

By Lisa Van Dusen      

After achieving concessions through mostly peaceful means, Hong Kong's protests have turned violent, which only plays into Beijing's hands.

Nearly two million people hit the streets of Hong Kong in peaceful protest on June 16 to protest a controversial bill. But since the bill’s withdrawal, the narrative has evolved from one of freedom versus tyranny into one of order versus chaos, and the question of who’s instigating the recent escalation of violence has become a little murky, writes Lisa Van Dusen. Flickr photograph by Etan Liam

The images from Hong Kong last Friday night made an indisputable statement. Tens of thousands of civil servants—generally not a societal subset known for rabble rousing—filled the streets in peaceful protest. “Hong Kong has always been well behaved and enjoys a high degree of freedom,” the government workers said in an open letter to beleaguered Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. “It is a pity that we have seen extreme oppression.”

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