IT’S a classic case of the Hong Kong people shooting themselves in the foot with the protracted violence and riots on the streets every weekend which are beamed across the globe.
The continuous protests may be aimed at denting the image of China’s leaders, who are certainly particular about the country’s image, especially ahead of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
But the reality is that what had started as peaceful demonstrations to voice their fears of the purported erosion of their rights have now degenerated into chaos and violence.
We are sorry for the people of HK but you have lost much goodwill and sympathy.
To be brutally frank, we think you have lost your mind.
The general consensus – and one does not even need to carry out any survey – is that these Hong Kong youngsters do not know when to stop, and do not even know what they want.
If the escalated violence is aimed at provoking China to step in with the People’s Liberation Army, and with possible bloodshed, the protesters may be surprised.
China does not need to do anything. The endless protests will lead to Hong Kong people hanging themselves, in the end, without the mainlanders having to react.
On Oct 1, hundreds of millions of Chinese will be on the move to celebrate the week-long Golden Week. Almost all of my Chinese friends are going home to see their loved ones or travel overseas on holiday.
But this time, HK isn’t on their itinerary. Why would any Chinese tourists want to go to a place where they would be unwelcome, and worse, may even get beaten up.
According to a report quoting Hong Kong authorities, tourist arrivals dipped abruptly in July by 4.8% compared to the same month in the previous year.
The number of Chinese visitors fell 5.5% to 4.16 million, down from 4.4 million in July 2018.
A large majority of Hong Kong’s visitors come from mainland China. In January to June 2019 alone, mainlanders made 27 million visits to the territory.
According to the South China Morning Post, which is based in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA) said most of its 8,000 member shops had recorded a drop in revenue.
HKRMA said it would revise its sales forecast to a “double-digit decline” if the protests continue. It had earlier predicted a year of single-digit growth.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board’s preliminary figures have shown a “double-digit decline” in the number of visitor arrivals in the second half of July.
“The travel trade has reported that the number of forward bookings in August and September has (also) dropped significantly, ” a spokesperson told the BBC.
It isn’t just Chinese tourists. Many people have put off travelling to HK because no one would want to walk an hour to reach the airport terminal or to find a huge number of protesters jamming the airport and disrupting flights.
There is more bad news for HK. Dozens of airlines have written a joint letter to Hong Kong authorities to seek airport fee waivers as the carriers struggle with reduced traveller demand following the months-long civil unrest in the city.
The Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) of Hong Kong, which represents more than 70 airlines that fly to and from the city, wrote to the government earlier this month asking for temporary relief from landing and parking fees as well as rent and other operational costs, Reuters reported.
“Already we have seen a double-digit drop in passengers in August compared to last year and we expect this to worsen in the remaining months of the year, ” BAR chairman Ronald Lam, a senior executive at Cathay Pacific Airways, was quoted as saying in a letter dated Sept 16.
“Many airlines have already reduced or cut their services to and from Hong Kong as many routes have become unprofitable due to declining passenger numbers, ” Lam said in the letter, addressed to Hong Kong’s transport secretary.
Cathay Pacific, the biggest corporate casualty of the Hong Kong protests, reportedly said this month that it would cut capacity for the upcoming winter season following an 11.3% fall in passenger numbers in August.
Travellers are tired, and to put it bluntly, pissed off, by the shenanigans of the protesters. They should not be called pro-democracy activists, as the Western media, especially CNN and BBC, like to brand them. They are just anti-government protesters, and in some cases, plain rioters and hooligans.
And if you are pro-China, or against these HK kids, you automatically get labelled a “thug” or “triad, ” but when innocent bystanders, who dare to speak up or challenge these angry young men, get beaten up and it almost goes unreported.
So are some of the odd Caucasians, who get involved in these demonstrations, and even actively direct the protesters. They are arrested, as shown in videos, but my media friends in HK said they were let off because of a lack of evidence.
It’s paradoxical that one of the five demands is that they want the charges against the arrested protesters to be dropped – so they want a fair and just legal system but when you break the law, while on a rampage and in an illegal protest, they want to be set free.
The third demand is the retraction of the proclamation that the protests are riots. How are these not riots when barricades were set up and put on fire, petrol bombs were thrown, innocent people beaten up, and insane vandalism carried out to destroy public property?
Then there is also a demand to investigate purported police brutality. Most of us who have been following the weekly protests must be left shaking our heads.
Yes, HK isn’t Malaysia or Singapore, where there are enough laws to put a stop to these. Even in the United States or United Kingdom, the protesters wouldn’t be allowed to continue this week after week.And no one, including my media friends, has been able to tell me why the Western media is calling Joshua Wong a student leader when he is not an elected one, he is not in any university and at 22 years old, he is not even in any school.
And who is paying for his globetrotting ways to meet the big names, and surely some powerful forces must be making these arrangements and meetings. Surely, he can’t pick up the phone and ask to meet the president.
The most oxymoron pictures have to be the kids waving the US and UK flags at the protests, and do they actually believe that President Donald Trump, with his anti-immigrant policy, will hand them US passports and welcome them to America? Neither would Boris Johnson who wants to keep out immigrants with his Brexit move.