On September 4, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, finally agreed to withdraw the hated Extradition Bill altogether, and not just leave it on the shelf. If the Bill had become law it would have allowed extradition of anybody on Hong Kong territory for trial on the mainland. Although presented as simply a measure to prevent criminals taking refuge in Hong Kong, it could also have been used against journalists and political dissidents and , indeed, almost anyone doing business on the mainland, where corruption is rife.
Progress for the movement now depends not on the force of argument, but on the argument of force. Only a real general strike, a strike that stops all production, all transport, all publications, all broadcasting, can do that. Such a strike cannot be mobilised out of thin air, it has to be built for within the workplaces and housing estates themselves. That is the task that the Left and the thousands of student activists should set themselves.
On 4 May 1919, in Beijing, some 3,000 students demonstrated outside the home of the Minister of Communications. After pelting its residents with eggs, they broke in, trashed the building and then torched it. This violent, but rather small scale, incident turned out to be one of the key turning points in 20th Century history, in many ways the real beginning of the Chinese Revolution.