A City Past the Point of No Return?

Commenting on the impact of Occupy Central on Hong Kong, Prof. Denis Wang tells Nikkei Asian Review that what will have an impact on Hong Kong’s competitiveness is not the movement itself but the fact that politics has become a mainstream agenda for the first time in the city, turning the city’s focus and energy away from economic development.

Whether under the British or Chinese rule, serving the function of a free-market port where a lot of money can be made has always been Hong Kong’s raison d’être. For that reason, the Chinese government has preserved institutions and values that do not sit well with its own belief system but are vital for an international financial center.

The city’s tycoons–who wield the real power here–abhor political conflict. Many of them have benefited from mainland policies, such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, which gives favorable trade access to Hong Kong companies. For these industry titans, protests such as the Occupy Central movement–a mass sit-in planned for the main business district–are simply destructive.

In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Prof. Denis Wang, Associate Professor and Director of School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School, said that Occupy Central is unlikely to seriously disrupt economic activity, but it is symptomatic of wider changes across society that challenge the establishment. He added that it is not Occupy Central that is going to have an impact on Hong Kong’s competitiveness. The main key, he said, is that politics has for the first time become a mainstream agenda in Hong Kong. That diverts the city’s focus and energy away from economic development… Read More (PDF)

Source: Nikkei Asian Review
Date published: 25 September, 2014

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