China's Hong Kong dilemma, It can't arrest the whole city and it mass murder of the population would create a worse dilemma

NY Times:

Tens of Thousands March in Hong Kong, Defying Face Mask Ban

The rallies were the first significant public gatherings since the ban took effect the day before, and a test of the government’s resolve to stop months of protests.
So far they have not found a way to sufficiently intimidate the population into going along with their totalitarian agenda.  Because China has become a bigger player in the world marketplace, it can't murder millions the way Mao did, without losing its commerce.

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