The protest movement in Hong Kong now appears to be at a dead end and its popular support shows signs of dwindling.
None of the grievances on the protesters’ list addresses the real issues: overpopulation and unsanitary housing, unemployment and working conditions, difficult access to care and education. Instead, the five key demands formulated by the movement aim first and foremost to humiliate the regional government:
repeal of the bill allowing the extradition of criminal offenders to mainland China;
election of head of government by full universal suffrage;
release of the violent elements, no longer to be referred to as "rioters";
condemnation of police violence and the role of the "triads";
resignation of the head of government, Carrie Lam.
Aware that the movement could spill over into the other British-framed city-state in the region, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sounded an alarm at his country’s trade union conference (photo): " If we were to face riots like in Hong Kong, it will become impossible to govern Singapore, to take action and implement difficult decisions, to plan anything in the long term ... Our international reputation would be destroyed. And I think Singapore will be finished."