The pictures out of Hong Kong over the past few days have been particularly worrisome: a protester shot by police at point-blank range, an older man set ablaze, a truck driver beaten by demonstrators.
While only one fatality has been linked to the protests since they began five months ago, that number could easily be higher. Police and protesters are locked in a fight over how much control Beijing has in one of Asia’s top financial hubs.
For the protesters, the use of force has always been a necessary evil. At the start of the unrest, the government ignored a peaceful street march by hundreds of thousands of people. It was only when demonstrators stormed the legislature that authorities shelved a bill allowing extraditions to mainland China. The danger now is that all this plays into Beijing’s hands.