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Global Times

Lam warns of long-term impact on HK

Global Times

By Yang Sheng in Hong Kong, Li Xuanmin and Zhao Yusha in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/9 22:48:40

Government to support business, boost employment to restore confidence

Hong Kong is now facing a situation more serious than SARS epidemic and previous financial crises, warned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday, and she called on society to stop the violence and restore Hong Kong's plummeting economy, which was hit by "economic tsunami."

Lam made the remarks at a news conference Friday after she met 33 representatives from tourism, retail, finance, banking and other industries.

Hong Kong is facing problems from inside and outside, including the trade war between China and the US, and the recent political clashes in this region, said Lam, noting that the impact on the region's economy won't be short-term.

Export enterprises face difficulties after the China-US trade war. Small and medium-sized businesses have suffered a 30 percent drop, which is the result of months-long protests, Joe Chau Kwok-ming, president of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business, said at the press conference.

He said that the wages of many people have shrunk and predicted waves of bankruptcy in the near future if the situation continues.

A representative from the Hong Kong Retail Management Association also noted that the retail business saw a single-digit decline in July, and a double-digit drop is expected in August.

Faced with the difficult situation, Lam said ending violence is necessary to restore order in Hong Kong and to save the region from being fractured. She urged citizens not to launch disruptive, random large-scale activities, such as blocking roads and public transport, and asked them to put their differences aside so that Hong Kong society won't be further hurt.

Lam said the central government trusts that the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Hong Kong police can handle the current situation, but the central government will not sit back if the situation in Hong Kong further deteriorates.

To ease the economic situation, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said that the government will support business and boost employment, which helps to enhance confidence in Hong Kong.

Elton Yeung, spokesperson of PwC Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Friday that although the accounting firm is "running normally," the violent and illegal activities in Hong Kong will have a long-term impact on its economic development.

A stable society lays the foundation for the prosperity of an open economy like Hong Kong. "Only when a society is operating in an orderly manner would foreign investors and tourists be willing to come," Dong Shaopeng, an adviser for the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told the Global Times on Friday.

The rioters are siphoning off all the public resources that may benefit this region, and are destroying its future, analysts said. They urged the local business communities to help bring peace and order to Hong Kong.

Several Hong Kong's chambers of commerce sent a joint letter to the Global Times on Friday, saying that the recent escalation of violence in Hong Kong will pose a severe challenge to the region's business and investment environment, and even people's livelihood and public security in the long run.

It urged all Hong Kong people to work together for the benefit of the region, help stop the violence and restore social order as soon as possible.

Tourism suffers

Radical protests that have severely disturbed Hong Kong's social order continued on Friday.

Hundreds of black-clad masked protesters gathered at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport on Friday. They walked around and disturbed passengers.

The airport also set up isolation belts outside the check-in counters and only allowed passengers and employees with the tickets of flights scheduled to depart within 24 hours to enter.

Angered by protesters who held US and UK flags at the airport, several Hong Kong residents confronted them. One of the residents told the Global Times that the protesters are making the whole thing very "dramatic."

A male passenger also called them "a shame to Hong Kong."

Edward Yau Tang-wah, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said on Thursday that the number of inbound tourists has dropped 26 percent at the end of July and 31 percent in early August.

Chen Qingqing also contributed to the story

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