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If by "lose face" you mean display of weakness, then you probably right. The government don't actually care about face here, they only care about outcome.

In mainland, people sees the government as the ruler. They are not there to serve you, they are there to manage you. They never make mistake, and you must follow their lead.

The government needs Hongkong, and hey need Hongkong under control, just like the rest of China. If they failed, their public image of power will be damaged.

However, if they can turn Hongkong into "the rest of China" alike, then that's a success showcase of power for them.

At the same time, PRC government doesn't want to turn HK instead exactly another Chinese city... (the closest one would be Shanghai, I guess.)

There are interesting historical issues, economical issues, geopolitics (especially Taiwan) and international politics at play.

But yes, in a certain sense the PRC want to turn HK into "the rest of China" alike, in the sense that you can have economic freedom and many other things, however politically one must submit to the supreme rule of the party.

I am not sure how true it is thst the govt doesn’t want to turn HK into just another Chinese city.

The belief was that HK’s economic value to China would protect the one country 2 systems status.

However, the Chinese govt appears to have convinced itself with the rise of its major cities (such as Shenzhen) and general economy that HK isn’t unique, and any economic benefits the political autonomy provides is far outweighed by the political risk and control. The protests, ironically, strengthen this thinking. And they feel they can compensate for the economic losses by simply creating SEZs.

I think the Chinese govt now believes that HK is not really special anymore, and if anything, is probably falling behind other Chinese cities.

> In mainland, people sees the government as the ruler. They are not there to serve you, they are there to manage you. They never make mistake, and you must follow their lead.

Mostly right, but there is no sentiment on the mainland that the government never makes mistakes. Quite the opposite.

Well, that "never make mistake" is in a sense, like "I'm right, you're the one who did it wrong", or "Yes it's bad, but it's necessary, there is no other way".

I personally believe it's the root of China's domestic problem.

Our government never fully apologize for their own mistakes (Sometime they did a little, but they always trying to shift their responsibility away. The word here is "Damage control"), possibly because they don't want to show their weakness and handle the consequence. And that gives them a hypocrite vibe.

If somebody never going to take responsibility, then that somebody will not be trusted. Because people is clever, they will eventually figure out who is honest, and who is not.

I would be interested to hear more on this topic. What kind of things do mainland chinese think is bad about their government. What would they change?

From talking to my friends, pretty much what you'd expect:

- The government can't act quickly, and the things it does are often stupid.

- It also can't be trusted.

My favorite remark on this general topic actually came when I asked someone how Chinese generally thought of the US. Her response was along the lines of "Some people view it as the promised land, where everything is better. Some people are more cynical. There's one guy at my company who always has something negative to say about America. But even he says they did one thing we should thank them for: they published the air pollution numbers."

She was shocked when I told her, in another conversation, that there is a contingency in the US that is very vocally envious of how quickly the Chinese government can get things done.

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