If people would just take the beating and lay down, like Gandhi-led resistance against Brits did, it could break down the violent strategy.
Do you think it's strange that some of the HK protestors have been waving the flag of their former colonial masters?
Amritsar caused outrage in Britain and changed the whole narrative. It took time, but within a decade British government had lost all moral ground and British attitudes had shifted.
As evil/bad as the situation was; non-violence only helps if someone loses more than they gain by just killing you. In this case it was by losing the moral high-ground that was valued by some British people at least. Sure it probably wasn't decent people among the perpetrators, but the pearl clutchers back home.
China (PRC), on the other hand, loves nothing more than to do China everywhere China is, or was, or will be. They can't stand it when somewhere that should be China isn't doing China hard enough. So when Hong Kong goes around saying "a little less China, please; we'd like to still be a little Hong Kong" then China retorts "how dare you not be all-the-way China!" They will gleefully beat more China into Hong Kong if given a flimsy, contrived excuse to do so. It's the same as it was in Tibet, except Tibet did not have the leverage of being so important to international trade. China very much wants to erase the historic embarrassment it suffered from the UK in the Opium Wars, and as long as Hong Kong doesn't want to be more Chinese, the wound stays open. Macau isn't facing the same mainland attitudes, probably because it wasn't taken by force.
But on the other hand, violent resistance definitely won't work, either. China won't kill everyone, but they will kill, imprison, or hospitalize enough people that the others learn what kinds of things can get you vanished, erased, or exampled.
The only winning strategy against China in Hong Kong/Macau is to get out, and with one's money, if possible. Expand businesses into Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and/or Australia, de-emphasize the Hong Kong facilities, and move people and households elsewhere. And that works fine for China, too. It makes Hong Kong more PRC-Chinese at the same time it is making other places more ethnically-Chinese, and they get to keep all the capital that was left behind.
Anecdotally, everyone I know from Hong Kong already moved to Vancouver.
>My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice. I can no more preach non-violence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes. Non-violence is the summit of bravery. And in my own experience, I have had no difficulty in demonstrating to men trained in the school of violence the superiority of non-violence. As a coward, which I was for years, I harboured violence. I began to prize non-violence only when I began to shed cowardice.
If the Hong Kong protesters want to avoid a repeat of 1989, they'd do well to study the tactics that were tried back then, among which establishing friendly relations with the soldiers appears to have been particularly effective: "Contact with protesters and residents of Beijing sapped the will of the troops to follow their orders, and the food and water offered to them, in lieu of their absent army rations, further diminished their will to act against the protesters." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insubordination_in_the_PLA_dur...