As the protesters of Hong Kong continue laying in the street as they fight for democracy in their part of China, it seems it is only a matter of time before the Chinese authorities make good on their threat of 'unimaginable consequences' and crack down hard.
If they give in to the protesters they know that even more will spring up elsewhere in the country but they also know that if they come down on the demonstrators as hard as they did on the Tiannaman Square protesters in 1989, it could have a negative impact on the economic fortunes of China and damage the improving reputation they have been working on ever since that picture of the man standing up to the line of tanks that circled the globe 25 years ago.
I am expecting the Government to conclude that stopping further protests trumps the potential fall-out of cracking a few heads and clear the streets with force soon but there has been something about the protesters that have impressed me as much as their nerve in taking on the authoritative Chinese Government.
In protests almost everywhere around the World there is looting and riots with petrol bombs and paving slabs being thrown at lines of baton wielding police but in China, it's all so civilised.
There are volunteers handing out bottles of water, towels, umbrellas and face masks and carrying plastic bags to clear up any rubbish left behind by the demonstrators. Groups armed with buckets of soapy water are cleaning chalk graffiti off the road while others carry around ladders to help people climb over the central reservation of the motorway they are demonstrating on where even the barricades offer an apologetic 'Sorry: No Entry'.
That's how protests should be, polite and well mannered but then that was exactly how it was in 1989 and that had a very ugly ending so we can only hope those scenes won't be repeated but you do fear that they will and even more ashamedly, the world won't much care because China is too big and too important to their economies to risk rocking the financial boat by criticising them.