HONG KONG: WEEK 21  


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Protests were both peaceful and violent in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Angry at aggressive police tactics, groups of protestors blocked roads, vandalized stores, and threw gas bombs. One video shows police backing up into a subway station to escape a group of angry protesters throwing rocks and other objects at them.

The increased violence is seen as the result of the ruling over the weekend by a Hong Kong court banning a range of activities being used by protesters to publicize police brutality.  Among the activities now banned are taking photos of policemen, verbally heckling police, and singing anti-police protest songs.

These new rulings come on top of recent government injunctions limiting public assembly, which has not quelled the amount of street demonstrations.

The protesters also gathered in the shopping district, where police used water cannons with stinging blue dye to clear a peaceful demonstration.

While advocating for change and continuing to air grievances, leaders called for an end to the verbal abuse some demonstrators had been aiming at individuals and business people perceived to be connected with the Chinese mainland.

The Chinese government is concerned about how months of protest have severely hampered Hong Kong’s economy and has damaged this banking capital of Asia from conducting business as usual. 

Tourism, one of the city’s key economic assets, is down some 40 percent since the protests began. Some 77 percent of hotel workers have been forced to take unpaid leave. 

Many shops and restaurants considered to be linked to the mainland have suffered physical damage.  The main malls, once humming with activity, are virtually empty.

The latest retail numbers saw retail sales dropping by 25.3 percent in August – the biggest year-on-year drop Hong Kong has ever seen. 

On Sunday, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, Paul Chan Mo-po, warned the city was heading toward negative economic growth for the full year: “The government will be announcing its advance estimates for the third quarter on Thursday. After seeing negative growth in the second quarter, the situation continued in the third quarter, meaning our economy has entered technical recession,” he wrote.

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