By Jerome A. Cohen
Given the way things have now turned in Hong Kong, there will be no need for PRC intervention via the People’s Liberation Army and People’s Armed Police so long as momentum will develop toward an apparent improvement in the situation.
If the Hong Kong Government comes forth with a plausible platform for independently reviewing allegations of police misconduct, that will be a start. It could be accompanied by or followed by withdrawal of the extradition proposal and the retirement of Carrie Lam. If the courts begin to exercise more leniency in evaluating and sentencing cases brought before them, soon reversing the conviction or reducing the sentences of Benny Tai and others, for example, and if the Secretary for Justice becomes less zealous in pursuing new cases, that will help.
Further peaceful and massive demonstrations will be desirable to keep the pressure on. But still necessary, besides the newly-formed Neutral Legal Observers Group, will be establishment of an independent Citizens Reconciliation Group or similar institution to move the process forward to achieve the positive reforms required.
Of course, we cannot naively expect the Hong Kong Government not to investigate, identify and perhaps informally seek to intimidate and even punish people it labels organizers. That would be a setback, if not a disaster. And Beijing’s barrage of fake news is surely likely to continue.