Politics

Where're The Protesters?

John Tsang: Blessing HK in America

Financial Secretary Mr John Tsang Chun-wah was supposed to explain to the United States on a recent visit how Hong Kong achieves revenue under a low tax system, but he ended up explaining the Occupy Central movement.

In his October 5 blog titled "Bless Hong Kong," Mr Tsang said he and his colleagues wavered on whether it was appropriate to attend a US conference during the occupy movement.

The 63-year-old official and his team ended up attending the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group annual meetings in Washington D.C., more than a week after the occupy movement, also called the Umbrella Revolution, began.

It was seen as a diplomatic move from Mr Tsang: to describe the civil disobedience movement to Americans from the Hong Kong government's perspective.

But when asked how the non-cooperation movement — the pro- democracy legislators' threat to boycott Beijing's election framework in the next Legislative Council meeting — might develop, he had to answer, I don't know.

Despite Mr Tsang's inability to make prophesies, the financial secretary knows one thing for certain: the plug on the Umbrella Revolution needs to be pulled as soon as possible.

"The ‘wall' we have built for many years, might not be able to withstand severe collision," Mr Tsang wrote in his October 12 blog post. "Democracy's prime purpose was to strengthen this ‘wall,' but destroying it for freedoms is more a loss than gain."

The self-described insomniac isn't the only one worried about Hong Kong's future. A 2014 fourth quarter Hong Kong Macroeconomic Forecast by the University of Hong Kong shows that real GDP could drop next quarter.

While the predicted percentage change in GDP is not drastic, co- author of the macroeconomic forecast Mr Richard Wong Yue-chim wrote in an article for the Hong Kong Economic Journal that economic healing should begin now before the movement spins "out of control". To do this, Mr Wong says dialogue is essential, but will only work if both sides don't mind who takes credit for the outcome.

Mr Tsang's hopes for the Umbrella Revolution's finale were dashed when Mr Joshua Wong Chi-fung, one of the protest leaders, urged a second wave of civil disobedience on October 10 and Chief Secretary Ms Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor "temporarily" shelved a dialogue with protesters. Mr Wong, leader of student-activist group Scholarism, asked protesters to bring tents for a "sleep-in" at Harcourt Road outside the Central Government Offices in Admiralty.

For now, Mr Tsang is not left with many options, as protesters look nowhere near ready to retreat. Maybe they could start by working as a team first.

 

Reported by Karen Lee

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Occupy in the name of Hong Kong people

Central Unoccupied