Beijing Putin on a show of force as Hong Kong gives dictators the jitters
The protests are supercharging the growing global divide between democracies and authoritarian states
As Hong Kong stood on the brink of chaos on Wednesday, China’s state-run Global Times newspaper warned that the territory must choose between stability and chaos. Its editorials accused protesters of “terrorism”, painting the unrest as the latest in a series of Western-backed “colour revolutions”.
With Chinese troops reported massing near the territory’s border, where things go next in Hong Kong is very far from clear. What is increasingly apparent, however, is not just that events there represent the greatest challenge to China’s Communist Party leadership in three decades. They are also supercharging the growing global divide between democracies and authoritarian states, simultaneously bringing the most powerful – Russia and China – significantly closer.
What was perhaps most striking about the two Global Times leading articles on Wednesday was how strikingly they echoed the world view of President Vladimir Putin’s government. With Russia too seeing rising protests against Putin it is hardly a surprise that those in power in both Beijing and Moscow feel similarly threatened. Until very recently they had felt distinctly heartened by the troubles of Western democracies. They may well still do so – but now they also fear they themselves are under threat...