Michael Tien speaks to RTHK’s Janice Wong
Tien, who had said in August that the central government had set a deadline of early September for the protests to be quelled, told RTHK that Beijing now accepts this won’t happen anytime soon.
He said a working group set up by the mainland authorities had determined that Hong Kong’s police are too weak to suppress the protests, and only the People’s Liberation Army would be able to do this.
“When this working group watched the incidents in Hong Kong unfolding during the second half of August and the beginning of September, they came to the conclusion that with the limited strength of the Hong Kong police force, this thing cannot be settled and the only way to enforce a deadline is to send in troops,” Tien said.
“So then it becomes a trade-off between having October 1st being a very calm situation in Hong Kong, but then ruining One Country, Two Systems, and possibly going down in the history books as a regime that somehow could not sustain One Country, Two Systems. And they decided that the latter is more important than the former, so they basically decided to let it be,” he said.
“So they are well-prepared to see very ugly scenes on October 1st, just to show the whole world how committed and sincere they are to One Country, Two Systems,” he said, adding that he expects to see “unprecedented violence” on National Day, possibly including fatalities.
Tien told RTHK’s Janice Wong that he has not seen any indication that the number of “radical” protesters has gone down and the level of violence is increasing. But he said the number of peaceful protesters behind those using violence is “dwindling”.
“But now, there is another problem, these vigilantes. Citizens taking law enforcement into their own hands because they don’t trust the police … that has much more far-reaching implications in terms of the future development of Hong Kong.”
Tien also reiterated his belief that the only solution to Hong Kong’s problems is to set up a commission of inquiry – one of the key demands of protesters.