In Hong Kong, what began as a peaceful demonstration against a contentious extradition law has descended into a violent police crackdown and engulfed the former British colony in a symbolic fight against China's authoritarian rule.

Protesters show no sign of backing down after more than 12 consecutive weeks of marches, sit-ins and disruptions. And China — which refers to the protesters as "terrorists" — has reportedly mobilized forces along its southern border in what many speculate is preparation for military intervention.

With no end in sight, a bloody climax seems to be looming on the horizon.