The Chinese army made a symbolic intervention in the Special Administrative Region on Saturday, November 16th.
Xi Jinping only needed one word to get the message across. By declaring, Thursday, November 14, that in Hong Kong "The restoration of order was the most urgent task", the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party has accelerated the tempo of repression. Until then, he considered this task as "The most important". Consequence: Saturday, November 16, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is, for the first time since the beginning of the demonstrations, in June, intervened in public in Hong Kong. Admittedly, it was officially only about fifty "volunteers"; they were only in civil life; and, of course, they only cleared the road. But their intervention, the legality of which is disputed by some – since the Hong Kong authorities have not made the express request – is highly symbolic.
On Saturday, Chinese TV news devoted one-third of its program to Xi Jinping's statement and the situation in the special administrative region, without mentioning the PLA's "volunteers". While Xi Jinping, at a meeting in Shanghai on November 5, supported Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, China Daily November 18 seems to indicate that Beijing loses patience. Under the title "Hong Kong must be uncompromising in the repression of illegality", the daily of the Communist Party in English judge that "The government of the special administrative region, which has followed a relatively moderate line so far, should shoulder its responsibility to protect the lives and well-being of Hong Kong residents who abide by the law, and take more decisive action to counter violence and support the rule of law ".
" Law void "
The paper also devotes a long article to the possible evolution of the formula "one country, two systems" which governs the relations between Communist China and this capitalist region. If this principle is the "Best systemic arrangement" to maintain the "Long-term prosperity and stability" in Hong Kong, this article explains that a document of the central committee of the Communist Party "Recently approved" believes that "Put in place and improve" a "Mechanism safeguarding national security". This document states that there is a " law void " in Hong Kong and that "The Hong Kong government and people have the responsibility to continue to advance legislation", by enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law, which prohibits "Any act of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Government of the People's Republic of China". In 2003, already at the request of Beijing, the Hong Kong authorities had already tried to implement this article, but had to give up following massive demonstrations.
While it is common knowledge that the implementation of this article is a recurring demand from Beijing to the Hong Kong authorities, the fact of recalling it at the beginning of the week is not neutral. The plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which met in late October and devoted much of its work to the situation in Hong Kong, had not been so explicit, at least publicly. While district-level elections are due to be held in Hong Kong on November 24 – the first election test since the protests began – all indications are that Beijing seems resigned not only to the showdown, but also to appear first. line.