Are Hong Kong protest justifiable ?

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Hong Kong has usually being regard as a well-developed economic area where its inhabitants have great living standards, the possibility to choose its ruler, and good income that should make them one of the places less likely to be hit by social uncertainty right? 2014 has proven this wrong, and discussing the reasons for this protest, and what the outcome has, and will be seems like a great point of discussion. It’s also very interesting what have been Hong Kong’s residents’ reactions to these protests, and whether they will remain any longer, or if they are just about to end

               Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.55.46 PM

Exhibit A                                                                                                     20120428_WOC081

Exhibit B

This year, we have seen massive demonstrations in Hong Kong against the government. The main reason has been China’s proposal of choosing and filtering any future candidates for Hong Kong’s government through a Chinese communist party kind of conclave. This has enraged Hong Kong and Hong Kong students in particular, which have been protesting since September Asking for Negotiating with Hong Kong’s government, and Chinese representatives. So far they haven’t gained anything but anger from fellow Hong Kong residents Which even though supported them at first, now they are paying the consequences of slower business activity due to all the protest that are disrupting of the normal day to day life activity. All this raises some important questions. Should protest continue? So far they haven’t achieved any tangible results, the support have decreased and most importantly, they are affecting the islands economy. The sectors most affected are being retail, and tourism. These 2 areas account for 30% of Hong Kong’s GDP, so they are pivotal economic activities. This explains to some extent recent discontent on protestors. After all, are these protests justifiable? If Hong Kong residents see economic well-being as more important than keeping its past political system; it will be very hard for protestors to maintain support for their activities. Hong Kong GDP per capita is about 51,000 (Exhibit A) American Dollars, and is constantly regarded as one of the areas that have one of the best living standards. Also purchasing power is among the highest in the world( Exhibit B). Are these protestors rising a valid point? Once again it seems like it would be a question of whether Hong Kong residents want to maintain its current economic status quo and accept Chinese imposition, or they want to support and join the protest even if it has economic implications for the islands. Here like in the previous point, it seems like people rather keep their current economic status even if that means that China will impose its political conditions.

Hong Kong residents seem to be interested in maintaining both political, and economic status quo. The Chinese government has insisted in “choosing,” “filtering” future candidates, which is something that the islands residents don’t approve. This is why they supported the protest at first. Once the reduction of business activity started affecting the local economy people turn their anger to demonstrators. Most analyst agree that maintaining the protest for overtime would have a big impact in Hong Kong’s business attractiveness which would affect even more components of Hong Kong’s GDP. Also in some areas like financial services, if protest continue some business might be absorbed by Hong Kong’s international competitors like Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, etc. There is some clear evidence that people want to maintain their economic prosperity no matter what. Hong Kong is one of the 4 Asian tigers, and has maintained remarkable growth in the last decades. Its inhabitants would not support any determent of that economic growth. So in this case I think people are willing to give up some of their political liberties in order to keep economic prosperity.

Sources:

http://www.dw.de/protests-taking-a-toll-on-hong-kong-economy/a-17995287

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-29975423

http://www.photius.com/rankings/economy/gdp_per_capita_2014_0.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/04/daily-chart-16

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