A group of men met in China last winter, as the coronavirus pandemic and quarantines were unfolding, to discuss Hong Kong and the likelihood that late spring would coincide with lessening infection rates and a lifting of quarantines. This prospect interested the men because it entailed possibilities for manipulating Hong Kong's young people by unleashing within them the energy of spring as a power source for their protest. This "spring break" energy would be especially intense after everyone had been pent-up for months in unnatural hibernation. By choosing this time to issue a set of directives from Beijing specifically designed to upset Hong Kong's youth, the men foresaw an easy road to chaos, one they could blame on the protesters. If the protests were sufficiently violent, the entire protest leadership and many followers could possibly be shut-up for good.
One man said, The young are unschooled in our ways. They think they follow their own volition, but we will be the stage managers. If we set a trap in spring, they will be too full of emotion to see it.
Yes, said another, Let's trigger them in late spring. At that time young people will be erupting all over the world, so when the mayhem starts, news of Hong Kong will be bumped off the front pages in the countries whose support the protesters need most, like the U.S.A. Gentlemen, it is time to make a list of things we will say in late spring to trigger Hong Kong protests!
That list appears on page 4 of today's Los Angeles Times (6/20/20, "Beijing to expand Hong Kong presence") where it is summarized by this line: "China plans to establish a special bureau in Hong Kong to investigate and prosecute crimes considered threatening to national security." The message: Dissent will be illegal and punishable in harsh ways.
It's a gripping story, but by the time readers get to it on page 4 they will have read thousands of words about race riots, infection rates and economic uncertainty. L.A. Times readers and most Americans are too exhausted from their own trials to think much about Hong Kong.
There will be no help for the protesters from international capitalism; financial centers in Hong Kong do not want to go against China. Without money in their court, the protesters have no hope of military support.
Youth of Hong Kong, you need to rethink your approach if you don't want to be sitting ducks. When China's latest moves send you to the boiling point, that is by design. You have not chosen this timing. It was chosen by your opponent in pursuance of a strategy in which the more violent your protests are, the more you will be misrepresented to people whose support you need. Every time a window is broken or a rock is thrown, your opponent will rejoice and congratulate himself on his strategic acumen.
I wish I could advise you on how to "win," but I'm not sure how each of you defines "winning." What I can say is that when you detect that an intended action of yours has been determined by your opponent, you should think twice about doing it.