Development is the only way out for Hong Kong

Editor's note: This is an edited translation that was first published by Xinhua News on August 4, 2019. The article does not necessarily reflect the views of CGTN.

More than a month of conflict and chaos have seriously hurt Hong Kong's economy. Hong Kong has become very vulnerable to turmoil amid the adverse environment featuring increased risks of a global economic downturn and further weakening of external demand. The riots and illegal activities need to be put down as soon as possible so that the city can refocus on its top priority: economic growth and improving the people's standard of living. 

The recent violent and illegal acts in Hong Kong have not only seriously trampled on the rule of law in Hong Kong and defiantly challenged the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle but also gravely disrupted the social order and business environment, emanating a growing negative influence on the economy and people's way of life. 

The violent protesters stormed the Legislative Council and paralyzed the legislature of the Special Administrative Region. As a result, many grants for public programs were put on hold, including tax relief, hospital reconstruction, public housing and other plans and programs concerning the interests of the public.

A protester throws a brick during a demonstration against a proposed extradition bill, in Hong Kong, China, June 12, 2019. /Reuters Photo

A protester throws a brick during a demonstration against a proposed extradition bill, in Hong Kong, China, June 12, 2019. /Reuters Photo

The following data highlight the consequences of the chaos. 

Hong Kong's retail sales fell even more sharply in June, with the value of total retail sales falling by 6.7 percent year on year. The drop was an additional 5.4 percent and 2.2 percent decrease from figures in May and April respectively. The number of tourist visits to Hong Kong in June was about 5.14 million, down by 770,000 from May. 

The hotel occupancy rate in Hong Kong also fell by 3 percent year on year in June. Most member companies of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association claimed that their turnover in the first week of July fell by either single- or double-digits compared with that of June.

It's worth noting that behind these figures are the impaired livelihood of local households and the helplessness of employees. Consequently, all Hong Kong citizens have to swallow the pain. Chen Maobo, financial secretary of the HKSAR government, further pointed out that Hong Kong's international image and business environment have also been damaged. 

Hong Kong seems to have become unstable and unsafe in the eyes of foreign companies and tourists, which only serves to dampen their desire to travel, do business and invest in Hong Kong.

The Hang Seng Index dropped 2.85 percent to close at 26,151.32, Hong Kong, China, August 5, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Hang Seng Index dropped 2.85 percent to close at 26,151.32, Hong Kong, China, August 5, 2019. /VCG Photo

Violence is affecting the economy and people's livelihood in Hong Kong. 

Every weekend, many shops and companies are forced to close when radical protesters block roads, destroy public facilities and attack police in commercial and residential areas. Their actions also affect taxi drivers who need clear roadways to ply their trade.

Be it for the sake of the Hong Kong society or for individual interests, at this critical moment, everyone in Hong Kong really needs to "take a step back and think carefully," say no to violence, establish two-way communication and refocus on economic development, which is the very foundation of the city. 

After all, instead of solving the current problems involving land, housing and social mobility for young people in Hong Kong, street violence and anger are only self-defeating and will lead nowhere in the end. 

Only economic and social development can serve as the silver bullet to Hong Kong's problems. However, for this to happen, there has to be a stable social environment. 

For a long time, as a global financial, shipping and trade center, Hong Kong has had powerful resources and geographical advantages. With the Belt and Road Initiative and national strategies such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has been given many new functions and a higher position. The HKSAR government and the whole society should make good use of these opportunities and take more effective measures to promote economic development and improve people's livelihood. 

Special attention should be paid to helping young people overcome challenges in housing, schooling, employment, entrepreneurship and so on to create a better future for them.

The only way ahead for Hong Kong is to stop illegal and violent acts, walk out of conflicts as soon as possible, stay in solidarity and seize the upcoming opportunities to achieve better development.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at