Sunday, July 28, 2019

Hong Kong protesters will get worst punishment – isolation

Extracts from the Star Online:


From the late-1970s the West was all for China’s “opening up” policies. Hong Kongers looked across the water to see Shenzhen’s phenomenal rise from old market town to bustling modern metropolis.

Shenzhen had twice Hong Kong’s population and a much faster rate of development. As just one cog in China’s production behemoth, Shenzhen soon buried Hong Kong’s prospect as a manufacturing centre.


In global references Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou is the world’s biggest productive mega region, demographically twice the size of the next biggest in Nagoya-Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe.

But Hong Kongers still regarded themselves as a breed apart from the mainland – a “Made in the British Empire” attitude dies hard.

Surely Hong Kong still had superlative status as a leading port and financial services centre?

Not quite, especially when Shanghai would soon outclass it on both counts.


Hong Kong slipped to fifth place among the world’s busiest container ports. Among the world’s Top 10, six are now on China’s mainland.

The Shanghai Municipality’s population is 3.5 times Hong Kong’s, with an area 5.7 times as large, meaning a more relaxed population density of just 62% of Hong Kong’s.

Shanghai’s 2018 nominal GDP was US$494bil (RM2.04 trillion), which was 136.1% of Hong Kong’s. Even Shenzhen is catching up with Hong Kong, falling short by just 3.3%.

Police and protesters clashed in Hong Kong 

Business is Hong Kong’s business, but the mainland is doing better in both performance and prospects.

The Hong Kong stock market is not necessarily stable. Since the 1960s it has experienced a dozen market crashes.

Shanghai’s Stock Exchange market capitalisation of US$5.01 trillion is larger than Hong Kong’s by 26.5%. Hong Kong’s exceeded Shenzhen’s by only 12.8%.

Hong Kong protesters 

Hong Kong as business enclave has been eclipsed and outdone by the mainland. At the same time its future increasingly depends on the mainland.

Since 1997, Hong Kong dropped from representing 20% to just 3% of China’s GDP.

For China today Hong Kong is just another Chinese city, meaning it is dispensable. Shenzhen and the rest of the mainland do not need a nettlesome Hong Kong for China’s continued rise.

Hong Kong protesters have committed at least a dozen strategic errors.

One, they assume Hong Kong is essential to the mainland’s future when only the reverse is true. There is no equivalence between Hong Kong and the mainland in any way that works for Hong Kong.

Two, protest appeals to mainlanders for support mistakenly attempt to rekindle the spirit of Tienanmen Square protests a generation ago.

Those protesters are now part of the system in a prosperous new China, actively engaged in business or government. Their original 1989 complaint of corruption in high places is keenly addressed by Beijing.

Three, attempts to solicit mainlanders’ support are badly confused with prejudice against them. Within days of trying to spread the protest message to mainlanders in July, protesters attacked mainland traders, shoppers and tourists.

Four, protesters violently attacked police personnel, alienating many Hong Kongers including most protesters. It signalled a slide towards civil disorder.

Hong Kong protesters confronted police 

Five, vandalising the Legislative Council building established illegal conduct and further alienated everyone else.

protesters in Hong Kong vandalised Legislative Council building 

Six, more violence was targeted at the liaison office when sympathisers had thought protesters would never do that. It confirmed the criminality discrediting the protests as a whole.

Seven, besides disrupting traffic and commerce, harassing passengers at the airport and train stations. It did nothing to promote their cause to the general public but quite the opposite.

Eight, protests did not subside even after Hong Kong’s Executive backed down on the extradition Bill. It revealed the unreasonable nature of the protests.

protesters in Hong Kong vandalised Legislative Council building 

Nine, no protester had demanded democracy for Hong Kong in 156 years of British colonial rule. If they had, they may have a legitimate basis for demanding democracy today.

a Hong Kong sucker 

Ten, it was foolish to unfurl the Union Jack and call for reverting to British rule. Seeking the denial of democracy by a foreign hand exposes the hypocrisy of the protests.

Eleven, it was foolhardy to unfurl “Old Glory,” calling for US intervention during a US-China trade war. With trade a major basis of Hong Kong’s survival, it was politically suicidal.

just as Mahathir did during Najib's PM reign

HK protesters even asked foreign nations to put Hong Kong as a place their citizens should not visit

Twelve, protesters fail to understand that no other country can or would do what is necessary to boost Hong Kong’s fortunes. Only the mainland can do that if it wants to.

Young protesters still to find employment amid poor conditions and rising costs may think they have legitimate grievances.

Yet all the solutions – more investment, better job prospects, even improved governance – can come meaningfully only via the mainland.

Beijing can deploy troops to Hong Kong, but to what end?

Hong Kong’s worst punishment is getting exactly what the protesters want – isolation. That will leave it further behind as the mainland prospers, surging ahead.

Hong Kong can stew in its own juices until tender. Beijing may let the anger fester and rot until then.

Hong Kong’s strength as money-making hub is also its weakness. Its stock market can crash again, which can also send a message to Taiwan.

Malaysia welcomes Chinese investments

now also welcomes Hong Kong tycoons and their fortunes, wakakaka

Hong Kong tycoons are already looking for more places abroad to stash their fortunes. Without decisive mainland investment, the economic enclave can die a natural death.

What’s left of Hong Kong’s Establishment will then surely discipline rowdy mobs. The triads have already shown leadership here, symbolising the decline.

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.


  1. Shanghai may exceed Hong Kong as a Financial centre in term of trading volume but it is NOT an international Financial Centre the way Hong Kong is.

    Only China-based corporations operate in the Shanghai Exchange.
    No major international funds are incorporated in Shanghai.
    The reasons are obvious.

    Hong Kong has a respected Rule of Law, still based on the Crown Courts legal system, even though Britain is long gone.
    Shanghai does not, and unlikely ever will have the way events are unfolding.

  2. Financial activities r been done at the locations WHERE the needs arise. The financial vultures go to anywhere where money can be made!

    In the old when China was considered a political closed & financial infrastructural immature state, many international deals, especially those involved big monies, have to be done through an intermediary like HK.

    No more, as China opens herself up & when China is where the mother lode of untapped gold mines still available to be explored.

    Shanghai has worked herself up to that financial challenges. Thus, the quantum & market sizes of international financial transactions have surpassed HK in recent yrs.

    Given time, when more & more home grown tech giants coming home to be listed in ShanghaiEx, HK will be only playing the supporting role, just like many of the smaller US regional exchanges.

  3. the worldwide investor would pick hk over shenzhen n shanghai, thats oso the reason why many china co choose to list in hk. one country one system mean hk is no diff with any city in china, would those red chip able to pull in as much fund as in the past? china is not a democracy, policy n rule created or changed is to protect n defend the ccp, not business or commerce, hence the risk is always there to invest in a authoritarian regime. is ccp ready to give up hk unique status?

  4. Keep watching/dreaming lah, mfer!

    Mainland China doesn't need to do anything. As long as NO radicalized demos involving obvious foreign powers, just sitting tight & let those blurred 港毒 youths do HK in to debase that 'unique' status.

    The other hkers will ALSO soon retaliate for their lost of peace/economy!

    If 韩 can't remodel the one country two system policy, when he wins the coming presidential election, many more Taiwanese youths would move to mainland China to seek out the opportunities & lifestyle that all those previous Formosa admins have failed!


    "china is not a democracy, policy n rule created or changed is to protect n defend the ccp, not business or commerce, hence the risk is always there to invest in a authoritarian regime."

    Then WHY the rushes to take a bite at this authoritarian economic cake by the never ending western business opportunists ever since China opens up & joins WTO?

    Why Beijing/Shanghai/Guangzhou CAN overtake HK in so many other economic activities?

    With the opening up of the ShanghaiEx & remodelled investment financial tools, many tech giants r coming home to list - Semiconductor Manufacturing International, a Shanghai-based component manufacturer worth $5.4 billion, has notified the NYSE it will apply for the voluntary delisting of its American depositary shares, or those that trade on a U.S. exchange.

    What makes HK so non-unique NOW?

    Perhaps, the answers r here: