Social media enabled HK protests and now hobbles their success

Pay attention to Hong Kong. The three months of protests there speak volumes about the state of democracy today - how the human quest for freedom can't be snuffed out, even by the most powerful autocratic systems, and how hard it is to turn that quest into lasting change in the age of Twitter when everyone is a leader, a follower, a broadcaster and a critic, and compromise becomes nearly impossible.

Yes, Hong Kong reminds us that people - God bless them - have both bodies and souls. And the great mistake that autocrats regularly make is thinking that they can thrive indefinitely by feeding just the first and not the second.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2019, with the headline 'Social media enabled HK protests and now hobbles their success'. Print Edition | Subscribe