The U.S. Has a Role to Play in the Escalating Hong Kong Crisis – as a Moderating Force

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Woman shouts at police officers as they advance towards protesters in Hong Kong
HONG KONG, CHINA - JULY 27: A woman shouts at police officers as they advance towards protesters in the district of Yuen Long on July 27, 2019 in Hong Kong, China.
Photo credit: 
Getty Images/Laurel Chor

In the past six weeks, I have been in mainland China, Hong Kong (three times), and Washington. From these trips and recent developments, I have concluded that Hong Kong is a huge tragedy in the making. Proactive and positive moves by all parties to this rapidly deteriorating situation are required.

Though Washington is not a principal party in these developments, it should be a constructive force rather than irrelevant or counterproductive...

The elements of the current crisis are many. In Hong Kong, there is a leaderless movement on the ground. There are rising levels of political and socio-economic frustration among many Hong Kong citizens stemming from mobility and economic considerations, as well as perceptions of political retrogression in the special administrative region.

There is a tone-deaf, neutered local leadership that is prideful and unwilling to admit that it made a huge strategic misstep pushing forward with an ill-conceived extradition bill. And there are local tycoons who curry favour with Beijing rather than protecting the rule of law that is in their own long-term interests...

Read the full article on South China Morning Post.


For more by Okseberg-Rohlen Fellow David M. Lampton, read our recently posted Q&A in which he analyzes the escalating U.S.-China conflict.