Tag Archives: Carrie Lam

GBA Briefs: 11/9/2019

Gree energy: Gree Electric boss Dong Mingzhu is finding time amid the bidding war for her company’s shares held by the city government to chair another joint-venture, this one involved in new-energy industries. Read more on Yicai Global.

Keep calm and Carrie on: Hong Kong CE Carrie Lam welcomed more than 5,000 delegates to the city’s Belt and Road Initiative Forum today, saying the “Hong Kong spirit” will overcome the current turmoil. This followed an evening of protesters singing their own anthem in shopping malls and soccer fans booing the national anthem. Read the SCMP’s wrap.

No more panic: China must stay alert to the possibility of a severe market disruption in case the trade war deteriorates further, as a repeat of the 2015 sell-off will shatter the confidence of international investors, Jessie Pak, managing director for Asia at FTSE Russell, tells the SCMP.

HK says a big NO to Social Credit Rating

Hong Kong’s hapless Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, cannot even pacify demonstrators by telling them the extradition bill is “dead”. While she continues to seek talks with student leaders to end the current standoff, in the hopes of keeping a lid on unrest that still has the potential to flare again into large-scale protests, it has become clear that her government is all but paralyzed. 

Little surprise, then, that her mainland affairs secretary was quick to deny reports that the mainland’s Social Credit Rating system is to be introduced into Hong Kong. It would be hard to imagine a bigger match being lit to the flame of tensions gripping the city than this one. 

Continue reading HK says a big NO to Social Credit Rating

What now for Hong Kong?

Is Hong Kong heading toward becoming ungovernable? The question may sound silly at best and unnecessarily alarmist at worst. But it is worth pondering what the worst-case scenario is for the Special Administrative Region since the astonishing events of the weekend, when two million people from all walks of life marched peacefully (and cleanly) from Causeway Bay to Central.

To say the march was an event worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize might not be an exaggeration. It is hard to think of a similar act of political courage taking place on this scale in recent years anywhere in the world. Moreover, the restraint – shown by both protesters and security forces – was deeply admirable. It has led to a situation today where Carrie Lam, the city’s Chief Executive, has been humbled to the point of calling a special press conference, at which she literally begged for her people’s forgiveness.

However, she did not go as far as the protesters would have liked. This much seems obvious from reactions. There remains a yawning gap between her administration’s willingness to meet their demands, and the clear majority of the public’s expectations.

While the unpopular legislation that sparked the protests has been suspended, it has not been withdrawn, and it would appear that other, unrelated legislation is in the works that could easily trigger the next round of street protests. The question, therefore, on the minds of many, must be: When will this standoff be resolved? And the answer, increasingly, is starting to look like: Not in the foreseeable future.

We are not easily alarmed, and we happen to believe that there are smart, level-headed people on both sides of this divide. But it is hard to see how Hong Kong can continue to operate in virtual limbo like this for a sustained period of time before its machinery starts to crack – or, worse, tempers start to flare to the point where attitudes harden and actions become more dramatic. The city’s institutions are strong, but not impervious to unrelenting pressure.

We do not yet see a scenario unfolding where capital starts to flee and businesses start to shut down on a large scale here. But we would caution our readers against complacency at this moment. Hong Kong is on a knife’s edge, and no amount of goodwill coming across the border in the form of the Greater Bay Area’s development plan is likely to help while this tension continues. The best that can be hoped for, as far as we can see, is for centrist-minded mediators to speak up more loudly, and for both sides to make greater effort to re-establish a common ground. Foreign investors, in particular, ought to have their political antennae tuned carefully to local media in the coming days, weeks, and, probably months. 

HK says no change after 1.03m march

A record 1.03 million people marched through the streets of Hong Kong yesterday in protest against a planned law that would plug a loophole in the city’s rendition agreements and allow fugitives to be sent to the mainland. The Hong Kong government responded late last night by saying that the bill would not be deferred, and would go through the legislature tomorrow.

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she would not resign, and she reiterated that the freedoms and rights of Hong Kong people had not been eroded.

All we can add to the story is a perspective on how it relates to the Greater Bay Area. What is happening now should be set against the backdrop of the region’s masterplan, which runs until 2035, 12 years before 2047, the end of the Special Administrative Region’s term. Legal and administrative reforms are at the heart of the mission to integrate and streamline the operations of Hong Kong and Macau plus the nine Bay cities of Guangdong. We expect to see the gap between the three jurisdictions narrowed over the course of this plan. We expect to see the rule of law strengthened throughout the entire Greater Bay Area. And we expect to see the region become more internationalized along the way.