TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Deploying the People’s Liberation Army to Hong Kong to put down protests, an option hinted at by the Chinese military, would be a “massive error,” according to an editorial published in the Financial Times on Wednesday (July 31).
The fact that two million people, more than a quarter of Hong Kong's population, participated in the demonstration shows the “long-term resistance” China would face should it impose military rule on the city, the article says. It added that the restoration of law and order is a job for the Hong Kong government, not Beijing.
On the subject of the restoration of order, the news agency says that the authorities must be seen to be “even-handed” by prosecuting the white-shirted thugs who indiscriminately attacked civilians at Hong Kong's Yuen Long Station. It should also concede to protestors' demands and establish an independent inquiry that is as comprehensive as possible, looking into not only alleged police violence but also the “broader causes” of civil discontents.
The article suggests that economic and social issues, such as the extraordinarily high cost of housing, also fueled the ongoing public unrest. On the other hand, it admitted the possibility that Beijing would never allow universal suffrage to take place in Hong Kong, which is one of the five demands of the protesters.
Nonetheless, the editorial asserts that Beijing could and should stop intervening in Hong Kong’s autonomy, pointing out that the Chinese efforts to disqualify elected legislators and kidnap booksellers have “backfired badly.” The Financial Times urges Beijing to reaffirm its commitment to “one country, two systems” for its own good, not just in word but in action.