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China and Hong Kongers locked in psychological battle

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Straight Talk


Who will blink first? This question is in the minds of both pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong and Beijing. Both sides have dug in their heels while the life in the city of Hong Kong stands paralyzed. The attempt to subjugate the rival camp is underway as there is no apparent sign of any breakthrough in the ongoing logjam. Beijing and champions of freedom are not only  engaged in battle on the streets of city of Hong Kong but are also fighting each other psychologically by stretching the timeline so as to wear down the opposite camp. The Chinese government is keeping a close watch on the developments and testing the nerves of protesters with the hope that fatigue will set in the minds of activists and slowly the public support to their cause will start dissipating. The People's Republic of China (PRC) has its own compulsion to harden it's stance against these voices of freedom. PRC has always projected its authoritarian model of governance as a prerequisite for a nation to attain great strides in economic and military spheres whereas democratic political system is viewed with disdain. China has apprehension that economic and political freedom enjoyed by residents of Hong Kong will blunt the narrative propagated by the Communists government to its citizens about the necessity of a tighter state control in the mainland. Moreover, retention of autonomous status by Hong Kong will make it difficult to seamlessly integrate with the mainland China. 
Any concession made by China to Hong Kongers to diffuse the current political turmoil will be construed as subjugation and abject surrender by the opponents. Moreover, such a measure will also send a message to Taiwanese that they too can negotiate and settle their issues with China on favourable terms. It will emolden them to demand independence or more freedom from Beijing. Such conciliatory steps will throw a spanner in Beijing’s future plans of taking over of Taiwan.
Whereas, if the pro-democracy protest peters out like the Umbrella movement of 2014 then PRC will undertake slew of measures aimed at tightening of its grip over Hong Kong. The adverse impact of demonstration on economy and employment will be disseminated through tightly controlled media in the mainland to instill a thought in the minds of residents about the supremacy of the Chinese political model. Beijing will tell its masses about the perils of democracy. It will make Chinese people to toe the line articulated by Communist government that their authoritarian model is a harbinger of economic growth and prosperity while the Hong Kong model offers chaos and uncertainity. The erosion of unique character of Hong Kong with the collapse of “one country, two systems” will dampen the spirits of even those living in mainland who harbour the idea of being a part of a democratic China. The consequences will be far reaching in the region and it includes Taiwan as well.

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