Chaos in Hong Kong only drags its economy into abyss
Dialogue with Yang Rui
Violent protests continue to roil Hong Kong, which has seen its economy slide as more than 600 billion U.S. dollars in stock market value has been erased since June, according to Bloomberg Economics.
Many of the protesters engaging in the violence are young people born after Hong Kong's return to China in 1997, which raises concern about what difficulties the youth are facing.
Hong Weimin, a Hong Kong deputy to the 13th National People's Congress and principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, with decades of experience in communicating with Hong Kong's youth, said that one of the major internal problems is Hong Kong's education system, which is now being questioned.
For instance, one of the four compulsory subjects in Hong Kong's secondary education is called "liberal studies." The course is required by students to pass the DSE (Diploma of Secondary Education) exam in Hong Kong. It doesn't have a specific syllabus that lists the curriculum. Instead, students are encouraged to freely comment on current affairs.
Hong said that one should always be concerned about the society but the first thing is to view oneself, and then the society. As secondary students, they are still learning basic knowledge and are taught a simplified version of world affairs. Therefore, it may be hard for them to distinguish fact from fiction.
In addition, Hong also mentioned problems with the textbooks, which often contain negative views of China and offer universal suffrage as the only solution. Hong said this will only deepen the misunderstanding of Hong Kong's youth.
Wang Cong, a reporter at the Global Times, believes that there is too much biased coverage of the Hong Kong situation in Western media, which provides a huge boost to the violent protests. They spare no effort in describing the turmoil as "pro-democracy" protests, which legitimizes the violent protesters as the model of democracy.
Wang said that he understands the frustration of Hong Kong's young people regarding upward social mobility. However, this should not be used as a reason for violence. As the global economy is facing a decline, Hong Kong could not be exempted from that.
But according to Wang, the central government has already put forward some development plans to tackle Hong Kong's economic and social problems, even though there may be some differing views on how the problems should be addressed. However, continuous violence will only further worsen the problems and won't help in any way.
Signals are indicating that Hong Kong is on the brink of recession. Hong Kong's economy shrank 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter. Besides, the increasingly violent protests have scared off tourists and heavily weighed on local retail sales.
Hong Hao, the chief strategist at Bank of Communications (International), said that due to the current situation in Hong Kong, potential investors are canceling their investment plans in this financial hub. He stressed that if the unrest continues, the third quarter records will even be worse.
The protests are impacting people's daily lives in Hong Kong, Wang said. Small businesses are taking the brunt of the impact. Wherever the protests go, shops must close down to avoid possibly being destroyed.
Regarding the housing problems and the relevant solutions, Wang emphasized this cannot be addressed just in Hong Kong because Hong Kong is limited in land resources, so it has to look farther afield. The development of the Greater Bay Area provides a valuable opportunity for Hong Kong to further integrate with regional economies in technology and many other sectors, which could bring more jobs and free flow of capital into Hong Kong.
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