Some Comments on the Hong Kong Protests

By | August 16, 2019

[August 16, 2019]  Something is going on that most folks in the West don’t know much about, nor seem to care.  In Hong Kong, officially a “special administrative region” of China,1 there are large protests that started with a new Chinese law allowing citizens in violation of the law to be extradited to China for trial.  Initial protests sprang up to oppose the law.  The unintended consequence of this opposition morphed into something new and infinitely more significant.

What happened?  The citizens of Hong Kong started to see the light of freedom and democracy.  This was a seismic shift, open defiance of the Chinese government, and with it tremendous risk.  The protesters now number an estimated 2 million.  In response, China is massing troops in what is a clear signal that they will not tolerate such “lawbreaking.”  The people of Hong Kong should know that Communist governments do not tolerate open revolts.

Here are some of my thoughts:

1.       The risk of a bloody showdown is high.  China’s senior leadership may use the protests as the final straw to resolving the independence of Hong Kong and finally bring them back into the fold of mainland Communist China.

2.      The passion of Hong Kong’s citizens run deep on the issue of independence, freedom, and their desire to have a government that is elected by them and controlled by them.  Any Chinese crackdown will not dampen this spirit very long and poses a serious risk to China.

3.      Democratic nations have not shown a lot of support for the citizens of Hong Kong.  Many in the West say it’s time for those who value their freedom to make it unmistakably clear that they stand with the freedom-demanding citizens of Hong Kong.

4.      If China were violently to put down the protests and get away with it, they will learn that the West is a paper tiger.  This will dramatically change the international calculus of how China views the rest of the world.  What would they do next?

5.      The China-US trade war is part of the makeup of any Chinese decision on what to do about Hong Kong.  There are enormous risks to all parties involved if China were to crackdown on Hong Kong.  Worldwide, financial markets have tumbled in response to this news.

6.      Does the West have a response ready if China violently overthrows Hong Kong’s government?  The West, particularly, the U.S. should have a clear redline that they will not accept Chinese violence.  Any response from the West should be immediate, clear in message, and designed to punish China economically and politically.

Of course, these are just my thoughts.  Some friends have helped shape my thinking; I hope for the better.




Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

34 thoughts on “Some Comments on the Hong Kong Protests

  1. Mikka Solarno

    I’m following the Hong Kong protests and find the idea they want “freedom” to be thrilling. I stand with them too.

  2. Jerry C. Jones

    Hurray for the peoples of Hong Kong. If I could be there, I would too be in the streets.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      We are all supporters of free peoples. They see an opening and are taking it. Good for them.

  3. Max Foster

    Ladies and gentlemen, the situation in Hong Kong is developing rapidly and may be one of the biggest stories of the year. Very much worth following. How will it play out? How will China react? How will the West react to a violent China?

    1. Mike Baker

      Spot on observation. The commies haven’t figured out what to do with the ‘independence’ movement on their island they so desperately want for its wealth.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      The actions of the Chinese govt seem to be unclear at this time. What will they do? One thing is the loss of face of China’s senior leaders and that in a communist nation is not acceptable.

    2. Tomas Clooney

      Good points Martin. No one knows what is next but what I do know is that the actions of China will have an impact on the West (even if we don’t know it yet).

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      You got that right. Well said, Greg. More to come.

  4. Eric Coda

    I’ve always been anti-communist. Just look at the 20th century. Just look at how China starved hundreds of millions of people to death when they made big decisions. They won’t forget that either. Their 20th century history is one of monumental failure and that includes the one baby per family policy.

    1. Gil Johnson

      Anyone with a brain knows that communism and its sister socialism results in the destruction of economic prosperity, loss of freedom, and early death.

      1. Jake Tapper, Jr.

        A truer statement about communism could not be said.

  5. Mike Baker

    I’m not so sure the “risk” of a bloody showdown is near. I may be wrong but I think, if anything, China’s leaders are extremely cautious. How this plays out over the next few weeks will tell. I think they will just let the protests fizzle out and do nothing other than threaten and posture.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Action or patience. I agree with you, Mike. They will chose patience over violent action.

    2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      I too concur with you Mike. They already misjudged seriously what Hong Kong would do. Now, let’s see what they do. My thought is that they will apply economic pressure and threaten with their military.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        I agree with you. China is an economic powerhouse. Their military is large and well equipped but operationally inexperienced. My guess is that their military will not play a central role.

  6. Joe the Aussie

    Gen. Satterfield, thank you for your thoughts on this important issue. Many Americans or Australians cannot see beyond their next trip to the mall to buy clothes. Missing this situation is unfortunate. Cheers!

  7. Max Foster

    The problem here for China and it is a problem for China, is less Hong Kong than for how their mainland citizens perceive what is going on. What the totalitarian govt of China does not want is an internal movement for freedom too. They must show that freedom and democracy does not work. Otherwise, they will have greater problems later on.

    1. Walter H.

      Good point Max. China has many problems of serious magnitude. They don’t need an internal uprising.

      1. Drew Dill

        Right, they already misjudged the peoples of Hong Kong. Have they misjudged their own people? That is a question they must be asking themselves right now.

  8. Janna Faulkner

    Once you experience real independence, it’s hard to give up. I think that is what we are seeing here. I’m with the people of Hong Kong. They are people I would want on my side.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Well said, Janna. I too stand with the citizens of Hong Kong. Hurray for freedom.

    2. Danny Burkholder

      “Ditto” I think we are all for free loving peoples. China’s leadership should be very careful.

  9. Army Captain

    China has had the Hong Kong “problem” of independence for many decades. Of course, China had many problems that rise to the top of their list. What will they do next? No one in the West knows but the history of Communist nations (other than China) have always put down such independence in a violent manner.

    1. Kenny Foster

      The international stage has changed over the past 50 years with much better and instant communications. How this plays out is anyone’s guess.

  10. Jung Hoon Kim

    Very western-centric view but nevertheless accurate. Thank you, General Satterfield. Wish you and your family good day.

    1. JT Patterson

      Mr. Kim, good to see you back on Gen. Satterfield’s blog. I hope you are well and that you are monitoring the situation closely. Please let us know any info you find out. Have a great day.

Comments are closed.