Some Hong Kong Protesters Resorting to Violence

Protesters call for 'settling matters privately'

Anger among Hong Kong’s protesters has brought them into a contentious debate, engaged in mostly in online forums, on whether to focus on peaceful protests, or to engage in more vigilante-style action, particularly against security forces.

Early Hong Kong protests largely focused on sit-ins and other activities blocking daily life in the city. With many angry at the protesters, and publicly supporting police crackdowns, some protesters are openly advocating “settling matters privately.” This includes matching punches with punches when security forces get violent.

This isn’t just about fighting police, however, despite videos online of protesters tackling and clobbering them. People condemning protesters have been thrashed in the streets, while a cab driver who swerved into a group of protesters was dragged from his car and beaten bloody. Even a local actress seen as pro-police took a few punches.

As protesters’ demands grow, so does the sense among some that the Beijing government will never settle matters to their satisfaction, which is fueling the sense among them that they may just as well settle it themselves.

While the protesters say they hope that violence against security forces shows them they will be held “accountable” for what they do, it seems unlikely that the Chinese state will simply allow this large, important city to fall further out of control.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.