Xi Jinping faces tough choices amid HK protests

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A spectre is haunting China - the spectre of democracy. The mass demonstrations that are taking place on the streets of Hong Kong have a significance that extends well beyond the territory itself. They represent the biggest challenge to the Chinese Communist Party since the Tiananmen uprising of 1989.

The authorities in Beijing will be hoping that the demonstrations in Hong Kong fizzle out, allowing a gradual return to the status quo. Something like that happened after the "umbrella movement" protests of 2014.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2019, with the headline Xi Jinping faces tough choices amid HK protests. Subscribe