If push comes to shove, the central government could intervene. The problem is many in Pro-Dems camp thinks that they could force the central government to cave. Many Hong Kongers overthink their importance to China. When it comes down to sovereignty, the central government would take a hard line no matter what. After the mess in HK, I just don't see how the central government would even allow more leeway for direct election. I am pretty sure that the central government has lost faith in HK and is moving many functions of HK to other places. The central government has been mentioning article 23 in more frequency. The future of HK is bleak.