stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Hong Kong protests hurt economy: Lam
space
Airport demonstration is latest in series of rallies that have brought a 'tsunami' of fiscal damage, leader says
space
By NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE
  
  

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Saturday, August 10, 2019 – Page A3

HONG KONG -- Leaders of one of Asia's most prominent financial centres warned Friday of increasingly tough economic circumstances as demonstrators gathered at Hong Kong airport with signs welcoming visitors to "a city run by police and gangsters."

Protesters have brought "huge damage to the economy and to the daily life of the people," Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, with business representatives reporting that a majority of the city's retailers posted losses in June and July. Millions of people have taken to the streets in a series of protests, exacting a toll that goes beyond that of the financial crisis and the outbreak of SARS, Ms. Lam said, likening the speed and severity of the economic damage to a "tsunami."

The dark message came after a week of arrests in Hong Kong and sharp warnings from mainland China, where video of military exercises suggested a willingness to respond with force to the protests while a high-ranking official intoned against a "colour revolution" in Hong Kong. On Friday, in another sign of a toughening response, Chinese aviation authorities ordered airline Cathay Pacific to bar staff who had taken part in protests from working on flights through mainland airspace.

Protesters in the city have made a series of demands, including an investigation into police conduct and greater electoral rights.

Their latest demonstration clogged Hong Kong's busy airport arrivals hall Friday, as activists who have studied tactics used in France and Ukraine prepared for a weekend of renewed clashes with police, who cited the potential for violence in rejecting applications for a handful of protests.

"More and more people who were not that active and hardcore before are now at the front lines with full gear," said Baggio Leung, a Hong Kong activist and politician. His own mother has become conversant in various models of gas mask filters.

On Friday night, Hong Kong demonstrators used a protest innovation of their own: setting fire to large quantities of Joss paper - the spirit money used in Chinese rituals of ancestor veneration - as a barrier to frustrate police clearance attempts. "Fire is the only way that can stop them from pushing so fast," Mr. Leung said.

Unrest in the city has marked the most visible challenge to Chinese rule under President Xi Jinping, and the drumbeat of warnings in recent days - including a plea for calm Friday from the city's wealthy property developers - has suggested a more concerted effort to restore order is under way.

It's unclear how successful that has been. Only a few dozen people attended the Joss paper protest, their faces lit by a handful of fires.

The small numbers contrasted sharply with the millions who marched in protest two months ago.

At the city's airport, however, a crowd began what is expected to be a three-day protest at the arrivals area, handing out pamphlets to travellers that said: "You've arrived in a broken, torn-apart city," but "we're fighting to put the broken pieces back together." On Friday, demonstrators unfurled a banner demanding, "Revolution Now Liberate HK."

"Of course some of us are scared," said Matthew Lau, 20, a university student who flew home from Australia to demonstrate. "But it's the fact that so many people are willing to fight for Hong Kong - to come out and voice their opinions - that gives us hope." Police have arrested 592 people since June 9, including dozens on rioting charges that carry a maximum prison term of 10 years.

On Wednesday, Zhang Xiaoming, one of the top mainland officials with oversight over Hong Kong, called the continuing rallies, some of which have turned violent, the "most severe situation" since the city's handover to China in 1997. He said Beijing's top priority is to "end the chaos and restore order."

Some analysts believe the hardening approach signals the beginning of the end for the protests.

Others have drawn hope from the threats. Signs of concern in Beijing mean "the central government is now looking at us and they are thinking about how to deal with us. Which means our movement is gaining currency," said Jeff, 18, who declined to provide a surname because he fears retribution from authorities for his presence at the airport protest.

Activists in the city have traditionally eschewed violence, determined to mount peaceful challenges to what they call the creeping influence of Beijing in a city that was promised a high degree of autonomy.

But the past two months have been marked by much more forceful protest. Police accuse demonstrators of arson, vandalism and hurling dangerous objects at officers, who have responded with fusillades of tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper balls in scenes that have given parts of Hong Kong the look of a conflict zone.

Such tactics and the large numbers of arrests "will escalate the hard-core demonstrators' anger in the short term, but if sustained, will turn the tide in the police's favour," said Steve Vickers, a former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police criminal intelligence bureau who now runs a political- and corporate-risk consultancy.

The Hong Kong government, for its part, appears "to believe that intemperance and increasing levels of ugly violence by activists will result in a change of public mood and that this will, in turn, move public support against the movement," he said.

That strategy is showing signs of success, he believes. "Ordinary working-class people, they have had enough."

People initially took to the streets in June to demand the cancellation of an extradition law that raised fears Hong Kong citizens could face justice in Chinese courts. That law has now been shelved - although not withdrawn - but protests have since widened to include much broader demands for political autonomy in the Chinese city.

Fears of angering mainland Chinese authorities have been set aside as protesters embrace revolutionary slogans.

"It is no longer sensible to try to avoid crossing the so-called red line set by Beijing," said Eddie Chu, a pro-democracy member of the city's Legislative Council.

"People are determined to seize this chance to voice out the fundamental demand of Hong Kong people, which is that we need a fundamental review of the current governing institutions and the relationship between Hong Kong and China."

Ms. Lam, however, has dismissed those demands.

"I don't think we should just sort of make concessions in order to silence the violent protesters," she said Friday. "We should do what is right for Hong Kong." The top priority, she said, is "to stop the violence."

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland urged Canadians to use common sense if they travel to Hong Kong, after her department issued a travel advisory warning of the dangers linked to the protests.

"There are protests happening in Hong Kong and there is some violence around those protests. I think it is common sense for Canadians to take great care," Ms.Freeland said Friday at an event in Calgary.

"There are 300,000 Canadians who live in Hong Kong, so I want to assure them and their families that we are very focused on them," she added without offering any specifics.

With reporting from James Keller

Associated Graphic

A protester wears a sign on his back during a rally at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday. The demonstration in the arrivals area is expected to last three days.

LAM YIK FEI/THE NEW YORK TIMES


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Leah_McLaren Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page