A week of turbulence . . .
This weekend will mark the 10th straight week of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, with no signs of a de-escalation. In fact, pro-democracy protests have become more frequent, and episodes of violence have spread more widely throughout the city. On August 3, a pro-democracy march in Kowloon erupted into violent clashes with riot police, and the Chinese national flag was tossed into the harbour, triggering an uproar on the mainland. The following day, two government-approved pro-democracy demonstrations took place on Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. On August 5, city-wide strikes brought transportation services to a halt in no less than seven districts, with 224 flights being cancelled and major roads blocked. Most recently, on the evening of August 9, hundreds of activists began a three-day occupation of the city’s international airport.
No government concessions . . .
The governments in Beijing and Hong Kong said they will not make concessions to the protesters. A press conference held by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on August 5 largely reiterated the earlier narrative of a need to return to law and order and of support for Hong Kong’s police and government, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Meanwhile, some 400 protesters have reportedly been arrested, facing serious charges including “rioting, unlawful assembly, possessing offensive weapons, and assaulting officers and obstructing police operations.” China ordered Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong-based airline, to remove employees involved in recent protests from flights to the mainland.
A city’s uncertain future . . .
Yesterday, Ottawa issued a travel warning for Canadians travelling to Hong Kong after similar travel advisories were also issued by Australia, Singapore, and the U.S. The escalating turmoil may not only undermine business confidence in Hong Kong, but also travellers’ and residents’ confidence in a city that has seen a decrease in in-bound tourists and an increase in out-migrationsince the protests began, casting a dark cloud over Hong Kong’s future prosperity and stability.
- CNN: Hong Kong protests
- Hong Kong Free Press: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam rules out protest concessions, urges focus on economy
- Nikkei Asian Review: Hong Kong's economic growth under fire from ongoing clashes