The “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong has lasted for almost one month. The whole world is still looking at Hong Kong, wondering how the central government will tackle this hot potato. Just like a tough parent to a rebellious stage “disobedient child”.
There is no doubt that the movement, lasting for so long, has affected a lot of business in Hong Kong. The question remains on whether the influence a short-term injury or a long lasting damage? How much that Hong Kong could gain from this war for democracy? And what will Hong Kong loss at the same time? It is really worthy?
Gathering in Harcourt Eoad, Oct.01 2014 Protesters live in the tents in Mong Kok, Oct.26 2014
The Occupy central movement started from the end of September this year. Initiated by an associate professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong, the movement intends to pressure the Government into granting a real electoral system, which will not be under the control of the Beijing central government. The campaign experienced several ups and downs since the first gathering in 28th September. As the event developed to present time point, the mainstream protesters are still the students group. By 26th October 2014, the organizers shelved the electronic ballot, which planed to be held today, after the movement said there were too many different views among supporters on the voting issues and validity of the poll.
Achievements Of The Event
One of the biggest achievements for OCLP so far is that the government has already agreed to start conversation with the students. Under such huge public opinion pressure globally, the Hong Kong government seems have no choice to make concessions. Although there is no sign showing that Beijing Government will accept to bring forward the 2017 universal suffrage, the event pass out an important sign to the central government that they are not satisfied with the offered new election system and its schedule. This also taught the local government a lesson that neglecting and perfunctoriness dose not helps in a developed area like Hong Kong, especially for an pro-democracy protests campaigns like OCLP.
According to the reports and comments from various economics. The damage that OCLP brings to Hong Kong economic is huge. Although 2008 global recession has already gone, Hong Kong, as a world class finance center who relies greatly on financial service and global trade, its economic is still facing huge downward pressure. The negative impact to Hong Kong economic includes two parts: Direct impact and Indirect impact
- Direct impact:
- Increase of government expense: In react to the occupation, government needs to spend more money out of budget. This will either increase the pressure of government deficit or grab fund from other segments, which could originally benefit economy instead.
- The stock market fell and investment halt: In a short period, it seems the event is not that serious to Hong Kong’s economy and will not fluctuate Hong Kong’s position as Asia financial and trading center. However, if the event keeps unsolved, it shakes the faith of investors. Especially giving the recent Shanghai new financial center plan, both capital and investors would be pushed to choice substitutes in long run. or at least they will start to consider the substitutes.
- The local business and travel industry: As one of the important pillars for Hong Kong economy, travel and local commercial bore a great loss due to the event. October used to be the golden week for Hong Kong travel industry. However, the OCLP stopped the traveler from all over the world, especially from Mainland China. Only for the first week of October, the loss was estimated to be 3500billion HKD.
- Indirect impacts are hard to measure but tend to have greater effects. Those effects might be a butterfly effect on government deficit/budgeting, customer/investor behaviors, overall stock market reactions and the relationship with Mainland China.
Questions to OCLP
OCLP do have great achievements and successfully attracted global attention. However, after looked at and analyzed the whole event context, got to know the initial triggers and the background, I start to doubt the real purpose and the effectiveness of this event. By a glance, OCLP seems to be a war for democracy, which people are fighting for their own election right. In fact, the central government had agreed the common election schedule on 2017 long back to 2007. So why those protesters can’t wait any more after has 8 years and start to strike when there are only two years left? Under the decision of 2017 universal election, there is a constrainer that the nomination should base on the premise of patriotic. People are criticizing the requirement because the local government owns the right to judge and it result in a “false universal suffrage”.
Standing in the shoes of Beijing Government, actually there is no reason and no way to ruin or harm the benefit of Hong Kong. The reason why Beijing are trying to control election is to avoid unexpected opposes and extreme activism people to in charge Hong Kong and break the relationship with Main Land China. What the central government wants is to keep a good relationship with Hong Kong and everyone agrees that a good relationship benefit Hong Kong with its economic development. Considering the idea in this way, it seems an unreasonably troublesome for Hong Kong protestors to require so-called real election when central government had already to do so by 2017. Together with the various negative impact to Hong Kong economy, either repairable or not, I think those professors and students should pause for seconds and rethink whether these efforts are worth or not. Maybe we can find other better ways to communicate with a strong power government like Beijing.