HONG KONG — With the Chinese government strongly criticizing the now months-long protests in Hong Kong, many have wondered when the party's patience will end and what route Beijing will use to quiet the dissent.
Here are a few of their options.
According to CNN, Chinese military forces seen near the border city of Shenzhen are fueling speculation that China could use them to quell protests in Hong Kong.
But the BBC reports that under the city's Basic Law, direct military intervention is possible only if the Hong Kong government requests it. Instead, the South China Morning Post reports China is putting pressure on Hong Kong's police force to end the protests.
According to the BBC, China could also turn to political intervention, since Hong Kong's Legislative Council is only partly democratic, and largely pro-Beijing.
China is already showing its power by refusing to accept Chief Executive Carrie Lam's resignation and to let her formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill.
Another possibility is for Beijing to target activists, as even without the extradition law, China is capable of detaining individual citizens.
According to the South China Morning Post, some Hongkongers have had China immigration officers at the border check photos and messages on their phones.
Despite fears of direct intervention, however, the BBC reports that Beijing's most effective tool may be economic. It can target the Hong Kong economy by redirecting investments to other Chinese cities, effectively making them more reliant on China.