This blog has a following in Hong Kong, so it’s worth underlining what may be obvious to international readers, and readers in the mainland.
China to Seize Hong Kong Airport? identifies the airport as a target of opportunity. Exactly the same reasoning applies to the occupation of universities, as a concentration of the elements the mainland considers most dangerous. See also Danger: Will China Deploy Troops in Hong Kong?
In other cases involving human rights, such as the internment of Uighurs, International pressure of China has had no results. Only in cases involving leniency for the individual dissident has there been an occasional effect.
Today, Hong Kong is the fulcrum of a scale with two heavy weights. One side of the scale is the absolute domination of the China police state, an amplification of Confucian ideas of government. The other side is a bridge or welcome-mat to the West. As China has developed internally, with business law systems quasi-compatible with the West, this rationale for “one country two systems” has diminished importance. The residents of Hong Kong hardly count in the balance of this scale.
Democracy is a popular idea everywhere in China. This is why the challenge of Hong Kong, on the doorstep to the mainland, is dangerous to the rule of the Communist Party, an opaque consensus of an elite.
There have been requests from some protestors for international help. Actually, you are getting some already, but help can come only in the form of negatives, like business disengagement. The more visible the crackdown, the more negative the business climate of China. In awareness of this, the mainland may choose a slow-motion, invisible crackdown, spreading secret arrests over many years.
I feel sorry for all of you, who had the misfortune to be born in the wrong country for your aspirations. Here, you would be doing great things.