Editor's Note: Hong Kong has seen escalated violence in recent weeks. How is the violence affecting everyday life in Hong Kong? What's behind the escalated attacks? CGTN talked with Antonio Hunter Chan, vice president of the King Wai Group and vice president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, on these matters.
CGTN: What is your view on the situation in Hong Kong?
Chan: Hong Kong is going through an unprecedented experience right now and I believe many of us are anxious, worried and heartbroken. The movement started with the extradition law proposal, but now this bill has already been declared dead on the July 9.
But has the situation improved? No. The situation escalated. There are prolonged large-scale rallies with a group of radical protesters resorted to violence. They were attacking the building of Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, defacing national emblem, and insulting the nation's dignity.
There were clashes in central Hong Kong. There were violent attacks in Yuen Long, damaging public utilities, charging at the police, storming the metro station and the list goes on.
We welcome different voices. We respect the freedom of speech. But violence is violence. Violence will never be a solution, but will only be more violence.
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world, and most of this is because of our respect for law and for order and the professionalism of our police force. It is their job to ensure the safety and protection of the citizens.
In fact, our police have repeatedly been rated the best police force in Asia by international authorities. They have done a remarkable job under difficult circumstances. They deserve our admiration and gratitude, rather than insult and criticism.
CGTN: How is the violence affecting everyday life in Hong Kong?
Chan: The market has seen a significant decline in business volume, especially in the retail, the F&B and tourism sectors. And if these violent acts continue, all the SMEs will be affected. The number of visitors to Hong Kong has already declined, and the desires of foreign investments will decline. This directly affects the employment rate and the livelihood of citizens.
There's one point I'd like to mention. It's the Hong Kong MTR. Hong Kong MTR is our metro system. It's rated as the best in the world by international authorities. 12.6 million passengers’ journeys were made daily [on metro], which counts for 90 percent of all daily journeys. And punctuality rate of 99.9 percent.
Many of us rely on our metro stations. Recently, there are a group of people storming our metro stations, storming the MTR from leaving the station. This has cost a lot of inconvenience to the people and to the companies in Hong Kong.
CGTN: What is your take on the ongoing violence?
Chan: National sovereignty cannot be challenged. This year marks the 22nd year of Hong Kong's reunification. But overall, the “one country and two systems” [principle] has been really successful and the recent demonstration shows that the Hong Kong’s freedom of speech is fully protected by the basic law. Hong Kong stability should not be destroyed. Violent behavior cannot continue.
We need to safeguard our home! A lot of people have expressed a lot of different views on the situation ahead. But let me remind you: do not forget most Hong Kong citizens have not spoken yet. They watched the development of the situation silently. They were really concerned and worried. The majority of this silent group wants a peaceful and prosperous Hong Kong.
Let's remember that, Hong Kong is not built in a day. It takes generations and generations to build Hong Kong. And of course, there's room for improvements. We have faith in our country, we have faith in our two systems.
In fact, Hong Kong has strong fiscal reserves and strong policy support from the central government. The advantage of Hong Kong is our unique strategic position. We need to put our focus on the opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area and also the Belt and Road Initiative, and stop dwelling on this violent nonsense.
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