Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

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fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:39 pm

I agree that the protests at the airport have resulted in more violence and I agree with Jun's comments about airports and transport hubs being off limits in any protests. But it is up to governments to ensure they remain open. And if, as in Hong Kong's case, the government and its police decide to sit back and do nothing for well over 24 hours, you cannot really blame the protestors in my view!

As for Britain's duplicity, I merely make the point. I am certainly not advocating that Britain hand out 5 or 6 million passports now. That would be madness on Britain's part. I also believe that the comment yesterday was hugely misguided. The fact is that Hong Kong people do not want to live in the UK; nor do they really want to live in China. They want to live in Hong Kong - at least for the foreseeable future. After the signing of the Joint Declaration and again after Tiananmen Square, many tens of thousands of Hong Kong Chinese emigrated to countries like Canada and Australia. Many of the men found they could not find good jobs and settle down there. So they returned, somewhat ironically to jobs similar to the ones they had before leaving but on better salaries and terms of employment. Their families remained and so they 'commuted' several times a year. Locally they were known as astronauts!

I consider the circumstances of Hong Kong were very different from Britain's other colonies. The others were granted the right to govern themselves. Hong Kong could not be granted a similar right. So the British had an obligation to pave the way for a peaceful transition of power to the incoming sovereign power. John Major's government singularly failed to do that. Even so, on July 1 1997 there were absolutely no protests. The People's Liberation Army troops crossed the border at midnight and were met with people waving at them. People assumed that life would just go on as before. So had the British given way to pressure back in the 1990s, it is my belief that the numbers taking up an offer to live in the UK would have been relatively small. But I cannot define 'small'!

firecat69
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by firecat69 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:04 pm

I had quite a few visits to HongKong as a British Colony . But I vividly remember my first visit a few years after they become ( I guess part of China)

What I remember is that it was palpable to me that it was not the same place . That even if I had not known the change , I would have realized it was now a different place. I wonder if others felt the same way??

fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:56 pm

I believe firecat69 is absolutely correct. For the first three years, there were only very subtle changes in Hong Kong, like the letterboxes being painted green instead of red. But they retained the British crown on them!

Image

Even the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army was still seen by all to be the Prince of Wales Building in Admiralty!

But then Hong Kong entered into its worst recession since World War 2. This was a result of the Asian Economic Recession hitting Hong Kong last. Unlike all neighbouring countries - apart from China - who had devalued their currencies by somewhere in the region of 20%, Hong Kong's currency was then and remains pegged to the US$ at a fixed rate. That effectively made Hong Kong a lot more more expensive. Hong Kong people saw the values of their apartments and their investments plummet.

Having worked as a consultant to the Hong Kong Tourist Association in the late 1990s, it was obvious that in-bound tourism, one of the mainstays of the Hong Kong economy, was about to suffer very badly - as all Asian tourism did. That was one reason for the Hong Kong government doing a sweetheart deal with Disney over the financing of the paltry little Disneyland. It was also why representations were made to Beijing to open the door to group tourism. Hong Kong virtually got on its knees and begged Beijing to open the floodgates. Beijing did. And so very quickly there were far more mainland tourists on the streets, in the hotels and in the shops. Mandarin Chinese almost became more common than the local Cantonese dialect. Very quickly Hong Kong's very DNA seemed to change.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by Dimsumbear » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:55 am

Right before the handover, the lucky few were given full British citizenship while most were given a pseudo-one namely British National (Overseas). The BN(O) renders British consular assistance overseas but only permits a visa-free stay in the UK up to 6 months.

I do observe most Hong Kong people still prefer to live in Hong Kong despite the foreign citizenship(s) they acquire. And for statistic some 2.6 million out of the 3.4 million BN(O) did not renew their passports upon expiry. There were only about valid 143,200 holders of BN(O) passports as of 2015, more I presume now in light of the current situation.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British ... )_passport

fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:28 am

Dimsumbear wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:55 am
There were only about valid 143,200 holders of BN(O) passports as of 2015, more I presume now in light of the current situation.
Useful points about the BNO passport which was another British fudge to try and appease Hong Kong citizens about the handover. The only point to note is that issuance of this 'passport' ceased on 30 June 1997 and so the number of holders cannot increase.

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by Dimsumbear » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:48 am

fountainhall wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 9:28 am
Useful points about the BNO passport which was another British fudge to try and appease Hong Kong citizens about the handover.
Fountainhall you are absolutely right. A bit of background, back in 1990 there was a British Nationality Selection Scheme granting full British nationality to 50,000 applicants and their immediate family. The scheme is meant to retain literally 1% of the best talents in Hong Kong. And the dummy British National (Overseas) passports are issued to 3.4 million of 5.7 million remaining, as “another British fudge to try and appease Hong Kong citizens about the handover”. :x

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/British ... ion_Scheme

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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by Dimsumbear » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:54 am

fountainhall wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:56 pm
Very quickly Hong Kong's very DNA seemed to change.
Traces of the colonial days are restricted to the street/district names like Queen’s Road Central or Aberdeen. I am not saying they were perfect, but the infrastructure and judiciary the British left behind did guarantee the prosperity of Hong Kong today. However, the DNA is changing, whether by choice systemically or by fate.

fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:29 pm

It is often forgotten that when Britain left Hong Kong, not only did it leave a thriving infrastructure, a largely uncorrupt civil service, a much admired judiciary and legal system and other trappings of a much more efficient colonial administration than in most of its other former colonies. It also left the incoming Hong Kong government with total foreign exchange reserves of US$82.9 billion.

Hong Kong today is one of the wealthiest pieces of land on the planet with massive financial reserves. As of December 31 last year these totalled a whopping US$220 billion. Its budget surplus as of March 31 this year was US$17.6 billion. This is estimated to rise by at least another US$2 billion by next March. And all this in a territory with just 7 million people where the average rate of income tax for 95% of the population is not more than 15%. Only millionaires will pay slightly more but never more than 17%.

fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:46 am

The CEO of Cathay Pacific has fallen on his sword! Stupidly, some days ago he said he had no problem with staff members joining the recent protest movement. I say 'stupidly' because with Cathay and its subsidiary, Cathay Dragoo, flying to 23 cities in mainland China, depending on China for a large percentage of through traiffic to its international destinations and many of those international flights having overfly rights in China, his remarks were never going to be tolerated in Beijing. Besides, Air China owns 30% of Cathay Pacific!

Worse, he failed to realise that the parent company of Cathay is one of Hong Kong's oldest companies, John Swire and Sons. Swire's has extensive businesses in China, including hotels and high-end property dec]velopments in the major cities and is the bottler for Coca Cola for most of the country.

It seems clear that China will exert its authority not from bringing in tanks but by using the inevitably large amount of soft power it has in Hong Kong. Asia's fifth richest man, Li Ka-shing, with a net worth of around US$35 billion and former head of another company with extensive mainland business, has taken out full page advertisements in all the newspapers with interesting messages -
Two full-page statements – one in colour and one in black and white – were both signed off with “a Hong Kong citizen Li Ka-shing”. The colour one was more direct and straightforward, dominated by the Chinese word for “violence” with a cross through it, flanked by slogans about loving China and loving Hong Kong. At the bottom, it said “stop anger and violence in the name of love”.

But the advertisement had an interesting header that said “the best of intentions can lead to the worst outcome.” It does not specify what “the best of intentions” refers to.
Image
The black-and-white full-page statement is minimalist in style. Apart from the header and signature, it contains only eight Chinese characters, which literally translate as: “The melon of Huangtai cannot bear the picking again.”

The message may be cryptic to many, but it is rich in meaning and open to interpretation. It is also not the first time that Li – nicknamed the Hong Kong Superman for his Midas touch – has used the phrase . . .

The phrase — derived from a poem in the Tang dynasty — means that something has suffered so much that any further attack would completely ruin it . . .

The melon of Huangtai, however, became a popular expression in Chinese culture, symbolising suffering in the face of persecution.
It appears on the surface that Li, his family and his companies are aware their bread is buttered on both sides!

https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/th ... li=BBr8Cnr

fountainhall
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Re: Hong Kong: What’s Going On?

Post by fountainhall » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:36 pm

I arrived in Hong Kong yesterday evening. The airport was spotlessly clean with no sign of demonstrators or of past demonstrations. I noticed an increased security at the entrances. Apart from that, everything was normal

Today has been a gloriously sunny day with bright blue skies. I have been around several areas of the island, including close to the main police station which was the location of one demonstration. The city looks sparkling! I came across one barrier at a road crossing that was bent and one piece of graffiti about Free Hong Kong at a tram stop. Apart from that the main difference is the absence of tourists, especially Chinese tourists. Everything is discounted in the stores and the hotels. This is a great time to visit mid-week. With schools and universities about to start the new term, it is likely that demonstrations will be confined to the weekends in future.

I had lunch today with a very old friend who is a director of one of Hong Kong’s largest companies. He has no idea how the present situation will end. He is certain that the Chief Executive will not last much longer. Beijing will probably keep her in place until after the National Day celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the Revolution in October. She will then take responsibility for the demonstrations and resign. I was even told there has been talk that the loss of face will be so great she might commit suicide. That seems pretty far fetched to me - but then I don’t live here any more!

If the demonstrations continue beyond the first week of October, it’s open season as to what may happen. But no one expects Beijing to send in troops.

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