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The chaos on Hong Kong's streets has reached the universities of the Special Administrative Region. Political scientist Stephan Ortmann, himself working at a Hong Kong university, does not believe in a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Hong Kong: "It's a kind of end game for the demonstrators"
Demonstrators armed with bows and arrows practice running away from the police near the Polytechnic University
 This week, the protests have shifted to universities, and there have been violent clashes between protesters and the police at several universities What's the situation at City University that you teach?
Stephan Ortmann: There were also disputes on Monday morning. There's an app developed by protesters that shows what's happening, where the police are. In the morning I saw that there was "TG". I suspected that was tear gas. Later, I learned from my friend that teargas was used several times in the morning. The confrontation took place partly directly on a bridge between the dormitories and the university buildings. That's why it shocked me that the university did not send out a message or warning. Later there were warnings to stay away, so I did. There was no lesson throughout the week, and the semester has now ended [ Anm. D. Ed .: two weeks before the semester closing]At other universities should probably continue online lessons take place.
Yesterday I looked at what City University looks like. The street was filled with bricks, buses were transversely, the university itself was smeared with graffiti. One of the refectories was destroyed and a bookstore. The demonstrators have now barricaded themselves in the student dorm. The rest of the campus can be reached without any problems, there is nothing going on.
Students have been involved in the protests since this week. However, universities have not been the scene of riots so far. This changed after the death of 22-year-old student Alex Chow . In your opinion, what are the reasons for the occupation of the universities?
Protests in Hong Kong (picture-alliance / Zumapress / O. Haynes)
Students gathered food supplies at the Occupied Polytechnic University on Thursday
I think the reason is that the government wanted to go deeper. The police have been attacking faster for quite some time, so the protests often escalate faster. For Monday a general strike was planned. Hong Kong, however, is so poorly unionized that a general strike can not be achieved if it is not enforced. That's why protesters, especially students, set up barriers on main highways and roads early in the morning and tried to stop trains. The police went against it.
According to reports, the universities concerned have become battlefields. Students should hoard weapons and incendiary devices and shoot at the police with arrows. This again used tear gas and rubber bullets. Some students have returned to mainland China. A Danish university has also recommended leaving the country for foreigners. Is the student protest largely forcible? And from which side does the escalation go?
Of course there is a mutual escalation. I would say it's a kind of preparation for a war or something like that - which does not mean that the demonstrators are planning an attack. So far, the government has not addressed the main cause of the entire protest: the feeling of unfair behavior that there is no understanding that people are fighting for their freedom here. I think it's sort of an end game for the demonstrators. Actually, they are pretty hopeless. What they do now is to say: we have to fight to the last thing. That's how they are set up. Therefore, they are gathering an arsenal to carry out the fight led by the radical protesters. But the majority probably does not belong to the violent part. There are many students who support this but do not intend to somehow to fight. There are only a small number of people who practice military training. 
Protests in Hong Kong (picture-alliance / Zumapress / O. Haynes)
Polytechnic University: Demonstrators are waiting with fire bottles for the arrival of the police
How do the universities position themselves in this struggle?
The government has long wanted the universities to take more action against the protesters, while the protesters want them to defend the students. Our president has more or less gone underground. As far as I understand, he is actually in favor of the government, but he does not want to comment in that direction. He is Taiwanese, but with a strong pro-Chinese bias, and that's why he seems to have disappeared somehow. We also did not have permission to organize any political events this semester. The university administration has not tried to influence us in any way, she just kept out of it. In my opinion, that's not what works. You really have to try to create discourses and go both ways.
Except for the withdrawal of the controversial extradition law, the Hong Kong government has not made any concessions to the demonstrators. Among other things, the protest movement demands impunity for the thousands of people arrested so far and the formation of an independent commission to investigate police violence. In your view, is there still a compromise between the two sides possible?
The simple answer is no. The first step in the right direction would be that Carrie Lam is no longer head of government. And then the next head of government has to focus more on the Hong Kong people and not pretend that he does not know why they are violent, why the trouble is there, and in fact open up more publicly for Hong Kong to China. But hardly anyone ever demands that Lam step down because they believe that it does not matter, no matter who comes. In my opinion, the creation of an independent commission has long since taken away the tension. The government hopes that the demonstrators will slowly give up, but there are enough students willing to fight to the end. That's why I think it will be more of a crush,
 
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In a nutshell - Worldwide anger: protest or revolution?

How likely are you to consider China's military intervention?
The probability is relatively low, otherwise they would have done it long ago. In addition, the costs associated with it are enormously high. That would lead more or less immediately to the end of the special economic zone, at least on the part of the USA. There is already a threat to do that anyway. 
That means there is a lot of pressure. China needs Hong Kong from an economic point of view, and many mainland investments are actually made through Hong Kong by a trick to declare Hong Kong as foreign. No one knows what impact it will have on the Chinese economy if Hong Kong's economy suddenly goes into crisis. That's why I think they'll be careful. If they intervene, then indirectly, for example, by helping the police.
Stephan Ortmann is a political scientist at the Department of Asian and International Studies, City University Hong Kong, and has participated in demonstrations in the Chinese Special Administrative Region in the past.