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The crisis in Hong Kong appears to be careening toward a devastating climax. With China’s government now using rhetoric reminiscent of that which preceded the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, Hong Kong’s prodemocracy protesters — and, indeed, its democracy — could well be in grave danger.

For more than two months Hong Kong has been beset by protests. Triggered by a proposed law to allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, the demonstrations have since developed into broader calls to safeguard — or, perhaps more accurately, restore — the semi-autonomous territory’s democracy, including by strengthening state (especially police) accountability.

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