Not really. No offense, but I'm from the middle east and I've lived through scenarios where both ends of these events were tried.
Confrontations with a much bigger foe when you're not prepared never ends well.
For the deflection part, well, this might sound bad, but there are many ways to throw someone under the bus.
Your leaders could've caused some mess with Taiwan as well to divert the focus to them instead, considering that Taiwan is under foreign military protection and already is independent, Some saboteurs could've tried to flare some troubles with neighboring countries diverting the attention there, etc.
Considering that everyone else in the region except for Hong Kong has foreign military protection, your leaders could've worked their way to divert the focus towards any of them without much effect on the other group.
Underground movements aren't exactly a new thing you know.
I mean, seriously, look at the middle east politics; Not just the headlines but follow the internal news, everyone is manipulating, sabotaging, and throwing everyone else under the bus in one issue or another, especially the smaller nations and groups do this to survive in the face of much bigger foes.
Personally, if I was an organizer there, I'd be looking for a way to flare up something elsewhere in the country right now.