Hong Kong Rally For Support Of Government And Peace Draws 476,000



476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in ‘Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong’ rally

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


Hundreds of thousands of people participate in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Hong Kong residents waved the national flag and repeated slogans like “uphold the rule of law and safeguarded Hong Kong,” calling for an end to violence during Saturday’s anti-violence rally.

The rally themed “Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong” took place near Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Complex. According the organizers, around 476,000 residents and representatives from all walks of life participated.

Speeches were made by family members of the police, the educational community, the government, taxi drivers and the legal community.

Organizers also made seven appeals to the public in the hope of bringing peace and order back to the city.

The appeals include stopping the endless unlawful assemblies, ending violence, preventing disruption from disturbing people’s daily lives, upholding the rule of law, stopping behaviors that break society apart, and getting Hong Kong back on the right track.

Some foreigners living in Hong Kong also joined the rally.

Noting that China is a peaceful country, Peter Bently, a foreigner who said he has lived most of his life in China said “I simply want to ask why these people who are violent protesters even those are peaceful protesters, why they are afraid of China. I love Hong Kong, I love China.”

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


People participate in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Su Changrong, member of the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region told CGTN, “Hong Kong is now in a serious and bad situation. I believe that the vast majority of Hong Kong people supporting our mainstream anti-violence. They support to maintain a good order and a stable environment in Hong Kong. This is for sure. My friends around me are holding such faith and expectations.”

A National People’s Congress deputy also said “Hong Kong’s chaos has reached a dangerous level. If it continue like this, Hong Kong will suffer even more.”

“We can’t let the rioters bully us like this. We support our government and the police to safeguard the rule of law. This is Hong Kong’s only hope. We need to unite together with the support of the motherland to build Hong Kong into a better place,” Li Yingsheng told CGTN.

When talking to CGTN many Hong Kong residents also expressed their opposition to the violence of some recent protests and voiced their support for the government.

Meanwhile, in Sydney Chinese demonstrators also held a peaceful rally on Saturday voicing their support for Hong Kong authorities.

Demonstrators were heard chanting “Hong Kong is part of China.” Other rallies were also held in different cities across Australia.

On Friday night, many students and other supporters of the Hong Kong authorities had already gathered for the same reason in a series of protests calling for an end to the riots in Hong Kong.

The organizers also called on Chinese-Australians to raise their voices against attempts to undermine the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy.

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


People participate in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


People participate in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


A man holds a banner during an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

476,000 call for support for HKSAR govt, police, in 'Oppose Violence, Save Hong Kong' rally


A group of people pose for photo in an anti-violence rally in Hong Kong on Saturday.

The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes



The History of Hong Kong in 2 Minutes

The territory of Hong Kong, officially known as the Hong Kong Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, has a fascinating and tumultuous history on the world stage. While we know it today as a global hub of international trade and exotic exports, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, given its divisive history, it’s a bit surprising that it even still exists.

Hong Kong’s Origins

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The Hong Kong we know today is home to over 7.4 million people spread across 426 square miles and stands as the fourth most densely populated region in the world. But getting there was a long road, with its story beginning as far back as BCE 214.

Even then, the Hong Kong island region had been occupied by humans for thousands of years. Early settlers migrated into the region from inland China and used their knowledge of agriculture to begin farming the land. These settlers wouldn’t be independent for long, as the dominant Chinese government—the Qing dynasty—saw the value of the region and integrated the island into the fold. The Hong Kong area would change hands over the years as Chinese dynasties rose and fell, each laying new claim to the territory.

Its value came from its location: Hong Kong was situated at a strategic point between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea, making it an ideal port for maritime trading. This defining feature was the key driver of Hong Kong’s development over the years, particularly as the region began to draw international interest.

The Rise of International Trade

Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com

Beginning in the early 1500s, Portuguese and European merchants began trading in Hong Kong, bringing significant prosperity to the region. This prosperity would continue over the next several hundred years, sparked by European interest in Chinese products—spices, silk, tea, and porcelain.

And while the Chinese markets didn’t care as much for European goods, there was one product that caught their attention: Indian opium. European traders funneled so much opium into the area that Hong Kong (and China as a whole) realized that they were facing a full-fledged opioid crisis.

In response, the Emperor sought to snuff out the opium trade altogether by prohibiting the trade of opium and forcing his subordinates to destroy all existing opium stockpiles. This culminated in a complete stop to all foreign trade in 1839, something that didn’t sit well with British merchants.

The Opium Wars

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The British responded to this trade embargo with aggressive military action, resulting in the First Opium War. This conflict raged for three years until the Qing dynasty surrendered, ceding control of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom in 1842.

Under new rule, Hong Kong experienced an economic upturn that greatly improved the region, aided in part by an influx of wealthy Chinese who fled to Hong Kong in the wake of the Taiping Rebellion. Unfortunately, hostilities over the opium trade weren’t resolved, and tensions between the British and the Chinese escalated to the point of a Second Opium War in 1856.

This war lasted four years, ending in another Chinese defeat, which did little to stop the expansion of Hong Kong as a port of international trade. The rapid economic growth brought on by the administrative infrastructure of British rule combined with the influx of wealthy Chinese made Hong Kong a desirable region for international investors, despite its political troubles.

This international interest would set the stage for Hong Kong as a region of great global significance, if it survived that long.

The World at War

Credit: Matt Gibson / Shutterstock.com

The beginning of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937 spelled further trouble for the region.

Although the governor of Hong Kong declared Hong Kong a neutral zone during the war, the Japanese army attacked Hong Kong on December 8, 1941—the same morning as the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a result, Hong Kong was occupied by Japanese forces for nearly four years until the British re-took control in 1945.

Hong Kong’s population suffered during this occupation, but it bounced back thanks to further influxes of those fleeing from the Chinese Civil War and those who fled from the Communist Party takeover of China in 1949. This influx of population would be a crucial part of Hong Kong’s post-war restoration.

Hong Kong’s Growth and Modernization

Credit: Nikada / iStock

In the 1950s, Hong Kong saw tremendous advancements to its infrastructure and public services. While Hong Kong’s production capabilities were limited compared to those of mainland China, Hong Kong’s diverse international population gave it an advantage in the service economy. It wasn’t long before Hong Kong established itself as a global center for shipping, finance, and trade.

But this economic growth did little to ease political tensions in the area that had been growing throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. In the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, it was decided that Hong Kong would be returned to Chinese control when Britain’s lease ended, triggering a mass emigration of citizens concerned for the future of their civil liberties. In 1997, Hong Kong was officially transferred back to China after 156 years of British rule.

Today, Hong Kong is supposedly an autonomous entity, but there are serious concerns about Hong Kong’s being truly independent from China, as was promised in the transfer. But as we’ve seen, Hong Kong’s history is characterized by political unrest—and against all odds, the territory always seems to endure, no matter what challenges it faces.

Hong Kong airport shut down after protesters storm inside



Hong Kong airport shut down after protesters storm inside

Hong Kong’s airport canceled all flights Monday after thousands of pro-democracy protesters stormed into the main terminal of one of the world’s busiest travel hubs to denounce police violence.

“Airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted … all flights have been canceled,” the city’s airport authority said in a statement. “All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible.”

Hong Kong has been roiled by mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent investigation into police conduct, with both the demonstrators and police turning to more extreme tactics.

In Beijing, the Cabinet’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office issued a statement saying the situation in the former British colony was “beginning to show the sprouts of terrorism” and constituted an “existential threat” to the population of Hong Kong.

“One must take resolute action toward this violent criminality, showing no leniency or mercy,” spokesman Yang Guang said in the statement.

“Hong Kong has reached an inflection point where all those who are concerned about Hong Kong’s future must say ‘no,’ to lawbreakers and ‘no’ to those engaged in violence,” he added.

Earlier Monday, police showed off water cannons that could be deployed in the case of future demonstrations, a development that Amnesty International has warned could lead to serious injuries.

“Water cannons are not a toy for the Hong Kong police to deploy as a sign of strength,” Man-kei Tam, the group’s Hong Kong director, said in a statement.

“These are powerful weapons that are inherently indiscriminate and have the potential of causing serious injury and even death.”

The slogan “an eye for an eye” was plastered all over the airport – a reference to a female protester whose eye was injured during clashes with riot police who fired tear gas and beanbags on Sunday, according to CNN.

Protesters handed out lists to arriving visitors documenting alleged police violence.

“I just don’t understand how people can tolerate that kind of police brutality. I feel like if I don’t come out now, I can’t come out ever,” said Hilary Lo, an accounting firm worker, according to The Guardian.

Enlarge ImageProtesters wave flags at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Protesters wave flags at the Hong Kong International Airport.AP

“People are starting to realize the police are out of control, especially with what has happened in the past two weeks,” she added.

A police spokesman said there wasn’t enough evidence to determine the cause of the woman’s injury and that authorities won’t investigate unless someone files a report on the incident.

The Chinese-ruled territory faces its most serious crisis in decades, as Chinese leader Xi Jinping grapples with one of his largest popular challenges since he came to power in 2012.

The demonstrations began in opposition to a bill allowing extradition to the mainland but have widened to highlight other grievances.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that has provided some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back from Britain in 1997.

They are demanding the resignation of the city’s leader, Carrie Lam, and an independent probe into the handling of the protests.

With Post wires


Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath

Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath


I very much fear that Hong Kong is going to be the next Tienanmen Square except on a much larger scale. The Communist government in Beijing have used the financial muscle generated in Hong Kong to build their country and their military power ever since England turned it back over to them. Now the Chinese government is facing a quandary of sorts. If they do nothing and the protesters continue to stay united against the intrusions of Beijing then the government would have to either back down which would make them look weak or use their military to stop the protesters. Personally I believe that the government will use force to end the peoples blockades of government buildings, stores, and the streets. I can’t help but wonder how many people will be murdered by China’s military in this process. How many protesters will sacrifice their lives in hoping that the West will come to their aid? Personally I do not believe that the U.S. nor the UN will do anything accept talk and issue sanctions which will save no lives in Hong Kong. This is just as I believe that Beijing will totally get away with attacking the legitimate government of China that resides on Taiwan as the world sits back and wrings their hands and whine. Obviously this is just my opinion but this is how I honestly see these events playing out.



China: Hong Kong’s most urgent task is to stop violence, end chaos, restore order



Hong Kong’s most urgent task is to stop violence, end chaos, restore order

Hong Kong's most urgent task is to stop violence, end chaos, restore order


A man checks his mobile phone with the Hong Kong skyline across the Victoria Harbour yesterday. Businesses in Hong Kong are taking a hit as escalating violence clouds the outlook for the city. Cathay Pacific Airways and the owner of Hong Kong’s luxury Peninsula hotel are the latest companies to highlight the impact of the protests on their business.

The most pressing and overriding task of Hong Kong is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore order, a central government official said here Wednesday.

Hong Kong is facing the most severe situation since its return to the motherland, said Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, at a symposium jointly held by the office and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

“The most pressing and overriding task at present is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore order, so as to safeguard our homeland and prevent Hong Kong from sinking into an abyss,” Zhang said.

More than 550 people attended the meeting, including HKSAR deputies to the National People’s Congress, national and provincial political advisors from HKSAR, leaders of patriotic political and social organizations in Hong Kong, as well as those from relevant youth, education and professional organizations and mainland enterprises operating in Hong Kong.

At the symposium, Zhang briefed the attendees on the central authorities’ policies on stabilizing Hong Kong’s situation while Wang Zhimin, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in HKSAR, proposed how to implement the policies.

If the violence and chaos are allowed to continue, not only the safety of Hong Kong citizens’ lives and property will be endangered, the governance authority of the SAR government, the cornerstone of the rule of law in Hong Kong, the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and the “one country, two systems” will also be destroyed, Zhang said.

“Citizens of Hong Kong will not allow this to happen. The people of China will not allow this to happen,” Zhang said.

He said the central authorities will never sit by if the situation in Hong Kong worsens to a turmoil that the SAR government can not control.

“According to the Basic Law (of the HKSAR), the central authorities have ample methods as well as sufficient strength to promptly settle any possible turmoil should it occur,” he said.

As many people in Hong Kong have pointed out, the ordinance amendment issues have changed in their essence, and now bear the features of a “color revolution,” Zhang said.

The criminal activities that blatantly challenged the bottom line of the “one country, two systems” principle must be punished by law, Zhang said, noting that plotters, organizers and directors behind the scenes must be held for criminal responsibility.

Zhang stressed support for the chief executive and police of the HKSAR, calling it the key to stabilizing the situation in Hong Kong.

Zhang said the central authorities firmly support Chief Executive Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government’s law-based governance, voicing confidence in Lam’s wisdom and ability to handle the current situation in Hong Kong and lead the HKSAR government’s administrative team to move forward and make further progress.

He also reiterated the central authorities’ unswerving support for the Hong Kong police.

The chaos in Hong Kong cannot be allowed to continue, said Zhang, adding that this is the common aspiration of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents, including many who have kept silent.

“The turnaround in the Hong Kong situation will not come from retreat or compromise with the opposition,” Zhang said. “People can give up on the idea that the central authorities will make any concessions on issues concerning our principles.”

Zhang called on people who love China and Hong Kong to play their pivotal role in maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

Wang said that Zhang’s message is the “authoritative voice” people have been expecting to hear for quite some time.

“It is now a ‘life-or-death’ fight for the very future of Hong Kong,” Wang said. “There is no room for retreat.”

The most pressing and strongest appeal to all sectors in Hong Kong society, Wang said, is to stop the violence and end the chaos, which is also the broadest consensus.

He said the primary need at this time of emergency is to unswervingly work with the HKSAR chief executive and the HKSAR government to crush the opposition’s rumors and dispel their illusions.

China: Protests pushing Hong Kong into ‘dangerous abyss’



Protests pushing HK into ‘dangerous abyss’


A SPOKESPERSON yesterday urged people in Hong Kong to stop the violence and chaos and bring back order.

It is the immediate task facing all Hong Kong residents, which is very clear given the severe state of affairs in the region today, said Yang Guang, spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, at a press conference in Beijing.

Yang called on people in Hong Kong to stand firm and guard their beautiful homeland, stressing that now is the crucial moment.

“Here we sincerely hope the compatriots in Hong Kong to think calmly about the questions: Who will suffer if the situation becomes irremediable, and who will benefit in the end?”

The radical protests in Hong Kong, which have continued for nearly two months, have severely impacted the region’s prosperity and stability and are pushing it into a “dangerous abyss,” Yang said.

The protests over the past two months have gone beyond the freedom of assembly, demonstration or protest and have escalated into extremely violent acts, said Yang.

“With upgraded means, escalating intensity and aggravating destructiveness, these acts are shocking,” he said.

All departments and organs of Hong Kong should never be soft on violent violations of the law, Yang stressed.

Reiterating the central government’s unswerving support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the spokesperson said the opposition’s attempt to force her to resign is doomed to fail.

“We hope that the people of Hong Kong understand the nature of the current situation, and firmly support Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam in leading the HKSAR government’s law-based governance, the Hong Kong police in enforcing laws rigorously, and departments of the HKSAR government and the judiciary body in punishing violent criminals in accordance with the law,” Yang said.

He then made it clear to “the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them” that those who play with fire will perish by it, and that whoever participates in violent and criminal activities would be held accountable according to the law.

“All in all, the fate of Hong Kong will be decided by all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots,” Yang said.

A small number of violent radicals are at the front with some kind-hearted citizens misguided and coerced in the middle, but the masterminds behind the scenes are the anti-China forces in and out of Hong Kong which have been trying to mess up Hong Kong, the spokesperson said.

“They have called black white and spared no efforts in playing up fallacies and absurdities such as the so-called ‘civil disobedience’ and even the fallacious view that ‘only violence can solve problems,’” he said.

The protests have seriously affected Hong Kong’s economy and people’s livelihoods, citing that the region’s gross domestic product in the second quarter increased by only 0.6 percent in real terms year on year, and 18 countries and regions have issued travel safety reminders against Hong Kong.

Yang said the protesters have whitewashed and instigated violence, attempting to drag all Hong Kong residents into political wrangling and intensifying social contradictions.

China: Hong Kong On Verge Of Dangerous Situation



Lam says HK on verge of dangerous situation, appeals against violence

Lam says HK on verge of dangerous situation, appeals against violence

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, China August 5, 2019.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday condemned the latest string of violent acts that “disrespected national dignity” and said such acts will push Hong Kong into a “very dangerous” situation.

“Such extensive disruptions in the name of certain demands or uncooperative movement have seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order and are pushing our city, the city that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” she said at a press conference, her first in over two weeks.

“The government will be resolute in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong and restoring confidence,” she told reporters.

She warned that some protesters were challenging the country’s sovereignty and the principle of “One Country, Two Systems.”

“We saw recently, it is already clear that people are impertinently proposing to ‘reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our times,’ which challenges the country’s national sovereignty,” she said. “I dare say it is trying to topple Hong Kong, completely destroy the cherished lives of more than 7 million people.”

When answering a question on calls for her resignation, Lam reiterated that she, as the chief executive, was taking responsibility for her government actions and she and her team would continue to bring the city out of chaos. She also promised to listen and respond more to the city’s residents.

She went on to appeal to the city’s residents to rally together to say no to violence.

“The only thing to deal with violence is not to do anything to give way to more violence… The only way to deal with it is to rely on the rule of law,” she said.

“The crisis now is not about the extradition bill… it is about Hong Kong’s safety and security,” she added, calling for efforts to restore law and order as soon as possible.

She spoke on a day that saw widespread strike across the city. Activists descended on subway stations during morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing and paralyzing large parts of a network that millions of people use daily.

In the afternoon they held seven simultaneous rallies, stretching the resources of police.

Lam says HK on verge of dangerous situation, appeals against violence


Mass Transit Railway subway personnel try to prevent a protester from blocking the door of a train as protesters disrupt services at Fortress Hill station in Hong Kong yesterday.

Multiple MTR lines and stations, including the Island Line from Wan Chai to Chai Wan station, Tung Chung Line from Tsing Yi to Kowloon station, West Rail Line from Hung Hom to Austin station and Tsuen Wan Line from Tsim Sha Tsui to Tsuen Wan station, were all suspended during the rush hour yesterday morning.

MTR lines gradually resumed service in the afternoon, according to Hong Kong Transport Department.

The strike hit the vital aviation sector.

More than 200 flights at the city’s airport — one of the world’s busiest — were canceled by yesterday afternoon.

By 3pm yesterday, the status of at least 247 flights read “canceled,” including 111 arrivals and 136 departures, according to the flight schedule on the Hong Kong airport’s official website.

Public broadcaster RTHK said Cathay Pacific and other domestic carriers such as Hong Kong Airlines were the most affected. Airport express train service was also suspended.

The carriers did not give a reason for the cancelations, but its flight attendants union confirmed some of its members had walked out.

Some key roads were also blocked, causing gridlock.

Some protesters set up barriers at the Kowloon entrance of the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, blocking traffic.

Many shops across the city were shuttered, including big-name fashion outlets in the central commercial district.

The strike led to some scuffles between angry commuters and protesters at crowded subway stations, with videos circulating across social media highlighting tensions throughout the city.

“Too much. Why do they have to create trouble for people not involved in their cause?” said 52-year-old John Chan, whose flight to Singapore was canceled.

The past fortnight has seen a surge in violence from increasingly hostile projectile-throwing protesters.

Dozens of protesters have been charged with rioting, which carries a jail term of 10 years.

At a daily briefing, a police spokeswoman said 420 protesters have been arrested since June 9. Those held — who are between the ages of 14 to 76 — face charges including rioting, unlawful assembly, possessing offensive weapons and assaulting officers and obstructing police operations, the spokeswoman, Yolanda Yu Hoi-kwan, told reporters.

Yu said during the protests 139 officers had been injured in clashes, with two still hospitalized with fractures.

She said violence has been escalating, with protesters using gasoline bombs and fire, including sending a trolley full of burning trash hurtling toward officers.

“We love Hong Kong and hope to restore public order. If we continue to tolerate and turn a blind eye to lawless behavior, the consequences will be undesirable for our citizens,” Yu said.

Hong Kong society strongly condemns act of flinging Chinese national flag into sea



Hong Kong society strongly condemns act of flinging Chinese national flag into sea


People from all walks of life in Hong Kong have expressed their indignation over the act by some radicals of flinging the Chinese national flag into the sea.

They strongly condemned the act as a flagrant trampling on the national dignity and the principle of “one country, two systems,” calling on the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to hold the perpetrators accountable.

A video posted online on Saturday showed some black-clad radicals scaled a flagpole near Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor, and removed from it the Chinese national flag, while some accomplices used umbrellas to keep the whole act from public view.

With playful laughters, they later flung the flag into the water, according to Hong Kong media.

Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, issued three posts on the social media to express his “strongest condemnation” of the act.

He also offered a reward of 1 million Hong Kong dollars (about 128,000 U.S. dollars) for those who offer useful information leading to the capture of whoever committed the crime.

Chan Man Ki, founding president of the Small and Medium Law Firms Association of Hong Kong, also expressed her strongest condemnation of the act, saying that it is punishable for fines and a jail term of three years according to relevant Hong Kong regulations.

Chan said from storming and vandalizing the Legislative Council (LegCo) building, storming the institution of the central government in Hong Kong and defacing the Chinese national emblem, to throwing the national flag into the sea, some radicals have been escalating their behaviors in an attempt to abuse the principle of “one country, two systems” and trample on the national dignity.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions issued a statement to express strong condemnation of the crime.

Noting that the misdeed of the perpetrators is an outrage and has crossed the bottom line, the statement denounced the “wirepullers” for inciting young people to undermine Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.

A statement issued by the Friends of Hong Kong Association condemned the act and called on the SAR government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The New People’s Party also slammed the act as being “lawless” and “an insult and challenge to state sovereignty.”

Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung, a Chinese national political advisor, said the extremist act was an “outrage” and a “serious crime” and must be punished.

China: Protests, violence take toll on Hong Kong’s retail, tourism



Protests, violence take toll on Hong Kong’s retail, tourism

Protests, violence take toll on Hong Kong's retail, tourism


Tourists take photographs on the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Hong Kong, China, on May 24, 2019.

Weeks of protests and violent incidents have started to dent Hong Kong’s retail and tourism sectors, a key part of the economy of the Special Administrative Region.

Business owners and industry insiders expressed growing worries and uncertainties as the demonstrations and violence continued to weigh on consumption sentiment.

“Protests and violent incidents have forced me to close my shop for several weekends on end,” said an owner of a seafood store in Sai Wan on the Hong Kong Island, who only gave his surname Cheung. “Sales have badly dropped and I am losing quite some money.”

Cheung hoped that the demonstrations could end quickly. “It is important that the economy stays stable. We ordinary residents just want a peaceful life.”

The Hong Kong SAR government said on Thursday that the value of total retail sales in June 2019 decreased by 6.7 percent compared with the same month in 2018, as local consumer sentiment turned more cautious and growth in visitor arrivals moderated.

A government spokesman said the near-term performance of retail sales will likely remain subdued, citing weakened global and local economic outlook and other headwinds.

The spokesman added that the recent demonstrations, if continued, would also dent the retail business further.

According to the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, large-scale rallies and protests have dampened Hong Kong’s retail performance, with most of the members of the association recording single or double digit fall since June.

Wong Ka Wo, president of Hong Kong Federation of Restaurant and Related Trades, said weeks of protests have not only hurt visitor arrivals but also dampened consumption of local residents.

“The catering business is very important to Hong Kong. A declining willing to consume will put pressure on businesses and dent Hong Kong’s economy,” said Wong.

Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong totaled around 5.14 million in June, down about 770,000 from the figure in May, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Hong Kong has seen steady tourism volume in the first five months of the year, but since June, the sector has been hit hard by multiple violent protests, and safety concerns mounted, said Yiu Si-wing, a lawmaker and tourism industry insider.

“Many have delayed or even cancelled their trips to Hong Kong,” he said.

For Hong Kong’s tourism sector, immediate recovery is not likely even if violence ceases soon, Yiu said.

But if violence continues, many of the tourism-related industries, including hospitality and retailing, will be hurting, and Hong Kong’s overall economy will suffer, he added.

Michael Li, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, said the demonstrations in June have had an impact on Hong Kong’s tourism, with the overall hotel occupancy rate dropping about 2 percent.

He estimated that the occupancy rate for hotels near the protest areas in the Hong Kong Island would decrease more than 10 percent in July and those in Kowloon would drop 5 percent to 8 percent.

China Reacts to Trade Tariffs and Hong Kong Protests by Blaming U.S.



China Reacts to Trade Tariffs and Hong Kong Protests by Blaming U.S.

ImageChinese officials and news outlets have accused the United States of being behind the protests in Hong Kong.
Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

BEIJING — A popular news anchor watched by hundreds of millions of Chinese poured scorn on the United States, using an obscenity to accuse it of sowing chaos. A prominent official blamed Washington directly for the anti-government protests upending Hong Kong.

Pointed hostility toward America, voiced by Chinese officials and state-run news organizations under the control of an all-powerful propaganda department, has escalated in recent weeks in tandem with two of China’s big problems: a slowing economy complicated by trade tensions and turbulence in Hong Kong that has no end in sight.

“It is, after all, the work of the United States,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said this week of the unrest in Hong Kong. Like other Chinese officials, she presented no evidence of American involvement in the demonstrations, which stem from worries over Beijing’s encroaching influence in the semi-autonomous region.

This is hardly the first time China has responded to domestic problems with frontal assaults on outsiders. Thirty years ago, Washington was accused of fomenting the pro-democracy upheavals on Tiananmen Square.

But after decades of working together on economic, technological and even military matters, China and the United States are going through a breakdown in relations that has turned increasingly adversarial.

Now, a dramatic singling out of the United States as a bad actor is setting a new anti-American tone for a domestic audience that is worried about jobs and sees Hong Kong as an island of ungrateful citizens.

This is deliberate on the part of the Chinese government, analysts said.

“Hong Kong is part of the bigger playbook to blame the United States for everything,” said Ho-fung Hung, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University. “The Chinese government knows the Trump administration is not popular in the United States or in China, so it’s an easy scapegoat.”

[Meet the Trump-taunting editor at China’s “Fox News” who is a key voice in the trade war.]

After trade talks with the United States broke down in May, China was relatively polite toward Washington as the two sides considered their next steps. When Hong Kong protesters began marching regularly in June, drawing crowds that organizers estimated at up to two million, the Chinese state news media made scant mention of it.

ImageHua Chunying, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, called the unrest in Hong Kong “the work of the United State.”
Credit European Press photo Agency

But now the gloves are off, with American and Chinese negotiators making little progress at talks in Shanghai this week. Just on Thursday, President Trump escalated the trade war, saying he would impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Beijing also does not appear to see an end to its differences with Washington over the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which was blacklisted by the Trump administration as a security threat.

As the economic strains intensify, state news outlets are now depicting the demonstrations in Hong Kong as the work of Americans and other “foreign forces.”

In fact, Mr. Trump expressed respect for China’s sovereignty on Thursday, calling the protests “riots” when asked by reporters about the unrest. “Hong Kong is a part of China, they’ll have to deal with that themselves,” he said. “They don’t need advice.”

One of the most remarkable anti-American eruptions came last week when Kang Hui, one of China’s most recognized television news anchors, attacked the United States on-air as a hegemony that bullied and threatened others.

“They stir up more troubles and crave the whole world to be in chaos, acting like a shit-stirring stick,” Mr. Kang said on the usually stolid 7 p.m. national news program on CCTV, China’s state broadcaster. The expletive quickly became one of the most-searched-for phrases on Chinese social media.

In a follow-up video on a CCTV social media account, Mr. Kang boasted about how he had taunted the United States.

“If a handful of Americans always stir up troubles, then we are sorry,” he intoned. “No more do we talk about certain issues. We will also target you. We will bash you till your faces are covered with mud. We will bash you till you are left speechless.”


A Huawei advertisement in Shanghai. The tech giant is at the center of one of China’s disputes with the United States.
Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

China began dialing up the anti-American comments after a meeting in Washington last month between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jimmy Lai, the publisher of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong. A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused senior United States officials of having “ulterior motives.”

At the same time, prominent Chinese figures have become more public in their criticism of the Hong Kong protests, and more outlandish in their claims.

One professor accused the United States of encouraging pregnant women to appear at hot spots during demonstrations, as a tactic to confuse the police.

“They are obviously actors, not Hong Kong citizens,” said Wang Yiwei, a professor in the School of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.

In recent days, the barbed language has turned to the United States economy as well.

Ms. Hua, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said at a briefing on Wednesday that the Chinese economy was in a far stronger position because it grew 6.2 percent in the second quarter, compared with 2.1 percent growth for the United States.

“Which one is better, 6.2 percent or 2.1 percent? I believe you all have a clear judgment,” she told a room full of Chinese and foreign reporters.

While the United States figure is far short of Mr. Trump’s 3 percent target, economic growth in China — which reported double-digit growth as recently as 2010 — is at a 27-year low.

CCTV is now regularly showing video of clashes between protesters and the police that suggest Hong Kong is in the throes of permanent rebellion. Chinese-backed news outlets in Hong Kong have published photographs of foreigners taken at or near the protests, including journalists, and accused them of being American government agents.


Wang Huning, center, a propaganda specialist with a dim view of the United States, is on China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the highest tier of power.
Credit Wang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Such outbursts almost certainly have the blessing of China’s top leadership, analysts said.

One of President Xi Jinping’s closest confidants, Wang Huning, is a propaganda specialist who harbors a dim view of the United States and multiparty democracy in general.

Mr. Wang, the author of a book called “America Against America” about his visits to the United States in the 1980s, is one of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the highest level of political power in China. His views are likely to permeate the propaganda apparatus as it formulates the anti-American campaign.

“Blaming the U.S. for the trouble in Hong Kong signals a deliberate policy decision rather than an instinctive reaction,” said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California. “It is highly unlikely that the use of such shrill rhetoric has not received endorsement from the top leadership.”

Beyond the specific issues of Hong Kong and trade, Mr. Pei said, the Chinese government is trying to construct a “mega-narrative” that portrays the United States as the “principal antagonist intent on not only thwarting China’s rise with the trade war but also fomenting trouble within Chinese borders.”

Media experts said that while the government rhetoric was probably effective in influencing the attitudes of Chinese people toward the United States, its precise impact was impossible to measure.

Since Hong Kong’s last sustained protest movement in 2014, the experts said, Beijing has become more sophisticated at controlling information from outside sources.

“Domestic platforms are heavily censored,” said Luwei Rose Luqiu, an assistant professor in the journalism department at Hong Kong Baptist University. “Only posts and comments in line with official ideology and rhetoric are allowed to exist.”

The propaganda machine has a powerful insulating effect on Chinese readers and viewers, said Lokman Tsui, an assistant professor in the school of journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“Even when some Chinese people come across messaging that is contrary to the propaganda, they are inoculated enough to ‘resist’ these messages,” Mr. Tsui said.

Amber Wang contributed research.

A version of this article appears in print on , Section A, Page 9 of the New York edition with the headline: As Crisis Worsens in Hong Kong, Beijing’s Leaders Say U.S. Is to Blame. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe