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31 August 2019

Comments

James

Thank you as always for the insightful thoughts.

One question that has been on my mind, given the turn of events, [of which I don't think anyone suspected to gain the traction it has (i.e. violence in what we are witnessing)], has Hong Kong lost its status as a global financial centre if things continue as they are or get worse?

David Eldon

Fair question James. I think we have to honestly say that centres such as Shanghai or even closer to home, Shenzhen, have ambitions to be global financial centres. That said, Hong Kong’s legal system is perceived as being more stable than other jurisdictions and the level of global talent available in Hong Kong remains high. For those reasons, and while China remains supportive of Hong Kong, my current thinking is that Hong Kong’s position as a global financial centre remains intact.

Helmut Knipp

Hello John from the Great State of Texas,
As a former longterm resident (16 years) of Hong Kong I have been watching these moves and countermoves with great interest an trepidation.
I don't think either side can win and declare victory. The Hong Kong community with ultimately loose as China, for political reasons and to maintain its image, must prevail. Hong Kong people on the other hand will wind up not only losers, but with a bloody nose, at best.
I have an alternate, tongue in cheek, solution. Hong Kong People are waving the American flag more fervently than, certainly democrats, in our own country, and are asking for US intervention and help. The US cannot and will not do that.
However, I have a suggestion. While Hong Kong wants to have a closer relationship with the US, we have "california" that wants to be socialist if not communist. Why don't we just agree to an even trade. You get california and we get Hong Kong. I think everyone would be happy.
Cheers
Helmut

David Eldon

Hi Helmut; pleased to see you haven’t lost your sense of humour in this crazy world - but it’s about all we have left now. A sense of humour and one hopes, an idea on perspectives. Of course - and as you know anyway - I have been (and am still) resident in Hong Kong for many more years than you were here but perhaps we have a similar amount of concern for the future of the territory. You are correct that as matters stand there are unlikely to be any winners. No sides now have a clear way out. The protesters are, largely, people who were not born when China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and as a result show a disregard for the law surrounding that event. But I understand their desires for the future. Desires that perhaps would be better met by proving to China that Hong Kong has been and will continue to be a useful addition to China rather than a thorn in its side. And to let the protesters understand that in a globally changing and challenging world (not just Hong Kong) they need to focus on ensuring there are jobs available and affordable accommodation too. As for democracy - again, have a look at Britain which is not a great example. And on the subject of California - what can I say? I thought you had a lot of Chinese there already. :-)

Henry

You do seem to find it hard, almost impossible to brook any criticism of the authorities, Chinese or Hong Kong, the police, or "business." Of course when there big bags of money at stake then what do the protests of those who have had no opportunity to share in that wealth matter?

Whatever you might think about the UK system of government, it is crass in the extreme to suggest it might not be as good as the totalitarian regime north of the border. Boris Johnson was indeed elected by 0.3% of the population but sooner or later he will have to face the electorate, a fate that isn't going to befall Carrie Lam or Xi Jingping.

As to China being a supporter of, or tolerating protests in the past, I assume you have been re-educated about Tiananmen and Xinjing

David Eldon

I don’t know, nor does it matter to me, how you were brought up, but I come from an era where I was taught to respect the rule of law, and where wilfully and criminally damaging property that does not belong to you and which therefore has to be paid for by the taxpayer was not the right way to make a protest.
I also have worked hard for whatever benefits I have derived, and was not given anything or inherited anything to help me on my way. You seem to suggest that the protesters deserve a share of other people’s money.
My premise on the UK, obviously not written clearly enough, was to say “be careful what you wish for”. If you think a UK democratic process is a model to which you aspire, look at that process carefully. I did not say the China model was better.
Do I condone Tiananmen or Xinjiang actions? I do not. Neither do I condone genocide in Sudan, or the behaviour of Colonial Britain in slaughtering Indians in Amritsar or other places, or the illegal incarceration of people being used as pawns in Iranian gaols. We do not live in a perfect world - and if you look globally instead of just here we are probably closer to a war than at any time in recent history. There needs to be dialogue, and rational perspective brought to a situation that is out of hand.

Henry

Once again, it seems to be impossible for you to simply acknowledge rightful criticism of Chinese or Hong Kong authorities without resorting to whataboutery from a different age. As you criticise Hong Kong protesters for smashing up MTR stations you don't criticise HK police for throwing tear gas or firing rubber bullets. Maybe you weren't there but I can tell you that these were not responses anything like commensurate with what was happening in the first instance, and the only effect has been to escalate the tensions. But the police are the police and if you were brought up in a certain way then you respect the rule of THE law, no matter how closely it resembles triad activity. If the police had handed out sweets to protestors in the first instance I doubt we'd be where we are.

I'm not suggesting protesters deserve a share of other peoples money. I am saying for the most part they have not been able to share in policies that wrongly enrich a certain type of rent seeking, monopolistic tycoon, no matter what rubbish they spout about how they have created trickle down effects. There is no meritocracy in Hong Kong, you know that. There isn't much in UK or US either for that matter, but HK has a much greater disparity between rich and poor.

As for "being careful what you wish for" tell me seriously you prefer a totalitarian communist regime to a democratic model? You might deny that's what you explicitly say, but you are more than implying it by continually rubbishing eg UK democracy (without of course saying anything about the regime to the north) Once again you simply seem incapable of anything other than apology for the CCP.

Henry

For some balance, perhaps check out other points of view

https://www.biglychee.com/2019/09/16/this-weekends-lesson/

https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/09/15/tear-gas-water-cannon-rubber-bullets-thousands-defy-protest-ban-hong-kong-island/

https://twitter.com/jmulich/status/1173222604573798401

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