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Was it a grim defining moment when Leung Chun-ying, variously known, among more flattering titles, as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong and the Chief Puppet of Beijing, ruled out any prospect of China changing its mind or allowing concessions to the limited version of “democracy” it has promised for Hong Kong in 2017, when voters are to choose his successor?

He sternly warned demonstrators to give up their “illegal” protests that have taken over large areas of Hong Kong for several days. Just before the midnight deadline that students had set him, Leung agreed to dialogue but the concession was late in coming.

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