Demonstrations in Hong Kong continue and their outcome remains unknown. A key part of this struggle is a global media offensive by Beijing that seeks to win friends, defuse opposition and divide the enemy. This effort offers important and revealing insights into how the Chinese government will deal with future challenges to its authority and its interests.
Protests broke out in Hong Kong in the spring, but they grew into mass demonstrations two months ago, triggered by a bill submitted to the legislature that would allow persons accused of crimes to be extradited from the territory to the mainland. Millions of people took to the streets; in one recent demonstration, it is estimated that 1.7 million people — almost a quarter of Hong Kong’s population — joined the protests, despite condemnations by both the Hong Kong and Beijing governments, the arrests of hundreds of people and an increasingly violent police response.