Hong Kong is doomed, but the West can ensure China takes a painful hit
Beijing’s clampdown on the territory will cost it financially, but that’s not what the Chinese fear
The tear-gassing and brick-throwing is reaching its endgame, for now. As Hong Kong’s police close in on the last stronghold of student protesters, the world is asking what comes next.
The avoidance, so far, of a “Tiananmen Square-type” event has prompted some people to suggest China is not prepared to pay the economic price of shutting down Asia’s biggest financial centre. The likelihood, however, is that these optimists are wrong.
There is no doubt that losing Hong Kong’s financial heft will cost China. What Beijing really fears, however, is not damage to its economy, but damage to its image abroad...