This is the 11th consecutive weekend of protests in Hong Kong, and the protestors aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. In the biggest demonstration in weeks, tens of thousands of people turned out today (Aug. 18) with umbrellas, shutting down streets and flooding the city’s public transport system.
The situation seems on the verge of escalating. Though Beijing claimsthey are there for reasons other than a possible intervention, Chinese forces are positioned in Shenzhen, near the border with Hong Kong.
” Read Also : Canada closes its embassy in Venezuela ”
This is around the time when a US president would counsel China to use restraint. “Our primary message has been to make sure that violence is avoided as the people of Hong Kong try to sort through what the next phase is of their relationship to the mainland,” Barack Obama said in 2014 about protests in Hong Kong at the time.
But Donald Trump’s message has been disappointingly confusing, if not altogether apathetic. On Aug. 13, when reporters asked him about the protests, Trump said: “The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation. Very tough. We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out.” The next day, in a series of tweets, Trump brought up the US’s trade war with China, suggesting it could be a bargaining tool to get Beijing to “work humanely” with Hong Kong.
” Read Also : Canada ‘extremely disappointed’ in China, defense minister says ”
Members of US Congress, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, have spoken out against the use of force against protestors and called for a peaceful resolution of the standoff. But such messages have been muddied because of Trump’s communiques.
Fortunately, other nations have stepped in to fill the role of global mediator. Yesterday, Canada’s foreign-affairs minister and two representatives from the European Union issued a joint statementcalling for a de-escalation in Hong Kong.