Images of protesters in Hong Kong destroying surveillance cameras symbolize protests in China's semi-autonomous territory better than photos of human floods or even those taken from the airport. These revolts are pure 21st century, a direct pulse to the digital omnipresence of Beijing. The protagonists wear masks to circumvent the facial recognition system, use encrypted systems on the Internet to circumvent censorship, pay in cash to leave no trace in the banks. Everything to cover the Big Brother.
For the Chinese government, which de facto controls that of Hong Kong, the last three months have been an ordeal. These riots are not like the ones that are counted every year in thousands in China against labor abuse or corruption. Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are the three recognized black beasts of the Communist Party. They have enough with a trade war with the United States that goes long enough to burst through the periphery. The example of the Soviet Union weighs heavily.
The riots leave many contradictions. Neither Washington nor other Western countries have questioned the takeover of the Hong Kong Parliament. We have seen 20-year-old protesters with British flags. How is it possible that they show their rejection of the Chinese dictatorship by winking to a colonial era in which their grandparents were second-class citizens? Mainland China is alone and its priority is to deactivate the protests before October 1, the anniversary of the People's Republic, that nothing tarnishes the parades.
He comes late. Although the Hong Kong Executive, as promised, ends up withdrawing the extradition law that unleashed the riots, protesters now demand universal suffrage. Since 2003 they have been taking to the streets in a peaceful way because they feel that the relative independence of the formula "One country, two systems" is being liquefied. And they fear that in 2047, when that special status ends, they no longer have freedoms. Since the relentless Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, Beijing's control shows much more. Hong Kong is no longer the oasis it was. Gone are the times when CCP officials were traveling in secret to buy censored books in Beijing to learn about the intrigues of the Politburo. Four very famous booksellers selling banned copies have been missing for four years and everything indicates that they have been reprimanded by Beijing.
More underground repression is expected, not a new Tiananmen. Beijing has other tools without removing the tanks. For example, dilute Hong Kong's power without losing it as an investment destination, and win over the elites. A panorama against which protesters revolt. @anafuentesf
You can follow THE COUNTRY Opinion on Facebook, Twitter or subscribe here to the Newsletter.