Hong Kong: Looking further
Two leading student activists are among scores of people arrested in Hong Kong in a crackdown on the two-month long pro-democracy street protests, which has shown this demonstration came as a blockbuster and now it seems has almost come to an end. Looking back to October and early November this year, the communist party in Beijing has taken the quiet approach to tackle this demonstration. Historically, China has always assimilated aggression, rolling with punches, overcoming hardness with softness. I believe this result has not deviated much from what Beijing expected or calculated at the beginning.
In 2010, the GDP capita in Hong Kong was 30000 US dollars, whereas in Mainland China it was only 4400 US dollars. In Hong Kong, the average annual salary of a normal sales person at a shopping mall is roughly 32000 US dollars, which is almost 6 times more than in Mainland, China. However, as I have experienced during my life in Hong Kong, the cost of a daily product, like rice, pork and seafood is approximately 2 times as expensive as in Mainland. This uneven distribution of wealth has gradually reduced the credibility of Chinese citizens towards Beijing. In the meanwhile, Hong Kong has simply become spoiled by all the privilege given by Beijing. Since Hong Kong came back to China in 1997, China finally woke up by this head-on blow. Therefore, Beijing noticed the current approach is not optimal and will soon gradually take back all the financial and political support, which means Hong Kong has to find his own way to fight and survive in this region.
According to Yonhap News Agency, airports in South Korea reported approximately 135.5 million international arrivals in July this year and Chinese tourists take 51.1% of it. The total number of Chinese tourists who visited South Korea from January to July is about 336.2 million, which has increased by 45.8% in comparison to last year. Coming back to Hong Kong, the total number of Mainland China tourists visit Hong Kong is 103 million during the national holiday in China, which has increased by 6.8% whereas it increased by 14.5% at this point in last year. Therefore, we can see the demonstration has decelerated the growth of tourism in Hong Kong even though the number of visitors is higher than last year. South Korea is slowly replacing Hong Kong’s position and become one of the most popular travel destinations for Chinese. Hong Kong is stuck at the crossroads. The tourism industry has been severely damaged already and next could be the banking industry and international trading business. This situation would only be continuous if this demonstration would not get controlled. Luckily, Hong Kong still has the opportunity to take the wise decision. But I believe the first thing they urgently need to do is to sit down together with the communist party in Beijing to find out the best solution to fix this problem. And let’s hope they both will take a step back to solve this under the “ One country, two policy” declaration set at the beginning.