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And since people saw an envoy of 10 extra tanks rolling into Hong Kong right before the NPC announced they’d be taking away universal suffrage, I think its blood on the streets they want—another Tiananmen Square massacre.
Jiang Zemin got into power in the first place because of the massacre. If they can manufacture another one in Hong Kong, that would be a huge blow to Xi Jinping. Xi would become the face of whatever happens in Hong Kong. He would have to clean all that up, and that would make it harder for him to continue going after his political enemies.
And if Xi is destabilized enough, it could even be a chance for Jiang’s faction to regain power. Hong Kong is becoming a powder keg and this might have been an attempt to throw the match that would set it off. And if the people of Hong Kong aren’t careful, they could be playing right into the hands of some pretty bad guys.
At the moment, the Chinese strategy appears to be to wait out the protesters and hope that public support fades away. There have been no signs so far that Beijing is planning the type of heavy-handed response that it adopted 25 years ago when it declared martial law and rolled tanks through the streets of the Chinese capital to quash student-led protests.
How current President Xi chooses to respond to this new challenge will be revealing.
Leung said the authorities would continue to tolerate the protests as long as participants did not charge police lines, but urged them to stop their occupation of much of the downtown area.
"I urge students not to charge into or occupy government buildings. ... It's not about my personal inconvenience," he said. "These few days the protesters' occupation of key areas of the city has already seriously affected Hong Kong's economy, people's daily lives and government functioning."
As the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) writes in Enough is Enough: Confronting Chinese Economic Mercantilism, through the mid-2000s Chinese economic policy largely focused on actively encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, promising to be a low-cost production platform for foreign multinational corporations (MNCs).
But by 2006, that began to change, as China made the strategic decision to shift away from attracting the commodity-based production facilities of foreign MNCs toward a “China Inc.” development model focused on helping Chinese firms, often at the expense of foreign firms. The path to prosperity and autonomy now became “indigenous innovation” (in Chinese, zizhu chuagnxin), with a focus on helping Chinese firms move up the value-chain to higher-value-added production activities.
To get there, China has embraced economic mercantilism on an unprecedented scale, using a wide array of policies to assist Chinese firms while discriminating against foreign establishments attempting to compete in China.