Heard on Fox

Expert: China lacks strategy to handle Hong Kong protests

Rodger Baker on the possibility of the Chinese government working with protesters


As protesters keep up their demand for Beijing to grant them political reforms, China’s central government is finding itself in an even tougher situation than days before, according to a top foreign policy expert.

Rodger Baker, vice president of Asia-Pacific analysis at the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, told FoxNews.com Beijing has no good options in Hong Kong.

He says the Chinese government has three different ways to handle the situation.

Officials might choose to take swift action. “They could decide very quickly and assertively and use the security forces of the Hong Kong police or beyond that, I think [though] that’s off the table for them and they do not want to employ that,” said Baker.


More On This...

He suggests Beijing might allow limited political reform. “If they do that, they demonstrate that public protests are a viable way to alter the political requirements that Beijing puts on Hong Kong and they really can’t allow that to happen.”

Another option which Baker sees more likely is authorities waiting out the protesters. “Hope there is going to be either the protesters leave of their volition [or] that they run out of steam.”

The 1989 crackdown of Tiananmen Square democracy protests weighs heavily on Chinese decision-making.

“They look at the way in which students can and do lead political change, not only the attempts in China but in Hong Kong in the 1980s, Korea, and throughout the region,” said Baker. “Student protest movements can become very powerful tools of change and can really alter the dynamics of the way in which politics happen in an area.”  

Baker cautions though that there are not too many similarities between Tiananmen Square and current protests.

“Hong Kong is very different than mainland China. Mainland China is at a very different stage of its development than what it was in the past, so a complete comparison is probably not entirely accurate between the two.”


Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox