Minxin Pei is Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and a non-resident senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
The crisis in Hong Kong appears to be careening toward a devastating climax. With China's government now using rhetoric reminiscent of the warnings that preceded the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters -- and, indeed, its democracy -- could well be in grave danger.
China's progress toward an open society ended when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) slaughtered at least hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful demonstrators in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 3-4, 1989. The crackdown left a lasting stain on the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), despite the regime's unrelenting efforts to whitewash history and suppress collective memory.
On Aug 1, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) celebrated its 88th anniversary. But the country's 2.3 million soldiers have little to cheer about. On the eve of the anniversary, the PLA's former top general, Guo Boxiong, was unceremoniously booted out of the Communist Party and handed over to military prosecutors to face corruption charges, including allegations that he took large bribes from fellow PLA officers in exchange for promotions. And Mr Guo will not be the last PLA officer to face such charges.