Reporter's Note: Causeway Bay and Central District under the haze of violence in Hong Kong in 2019
Xinhua News Agency, Hong Kong, December 31 (Reporter Li Binbin) In 2019, the Pearl of the East was cast in black. Causeway Bay, as Hong Kong's most prosperous business district, and Central, a landmark location for Hong Kong's finance, will inevitably encounter a "black storm".
"In the past 200 days, this place suddenly became so strange and appalling. Thugs used violence as a means to" private "to prevent them from breaking the law or dissidents, maliciously harassing shops, malls, banks and MTR, destroying Private property and public property, "Chen Maobo, the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government wrote in a blog in late 2019.
In mid-June, when the reporter went to Central for an interview, he encountered a large number of young men in black surrounding the International Financial Centre in Central. When passing through Admiralty, he saw a large number of people in black gathering and surrounding the Admiralty Shopping Centre. Violent demonstrations.
Beginning in July, violent demonstrations have intensified. Demonstrators began to create riots in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong's bustling business district, blocking traffic, preempting roads, demolishing iron horses, and scolding passers-by who used mobile phones ... For several months on weekends and evenings, violent protesters in Hennessy Road Face off with the police, throw petrol bombs, and attack the police.
In August, Mr. Liu, who worked in Hong Kong a few years ago, returned to Hong Kong. The chaos in front of him made him feel incredible. He found that in a crowded place, the traffic light next to Sogo Department Store in Causeway Bay was actually destroyed by violent elements. The car passed the desperate whistle, the tram kept ringing, and pedestrians rushed into the street ...
In September, when A Hui came to Hong Kong to visit her friends, she went to Causeway Bay to purchase. She said that the unattended retail department stores, taxis waiting in line in front of Times Square, and other tourists in Causeway Bay were completely unimaginable. Hong Kong.
In October, Mr. Zeng flew back to Hong Kong from Myanmar. He said that at around 9:30 pm, the airport atmosphere was tense. He arrived in Central by train. Affected by the violent demonstrations, all services were suspended on the subway. Some people carried large suitcases and some people pushed the children.
Only one month out, Mr. Zeng was unfamiliar to the sight: from Central to Causeway Bay, the facades of many businesses along the way were graffitied, windows were smashed and burned, and the siren sounded. Multiple debris at the entrances and exits of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai Stations were set on fire. Many bricks on the sidewalks were dug out.
"I walked for three hours before I got home. When did Hong Kong become so? No matter what the reason, violence is unacceptable, and anyone must stop and condemn it, and nothing is right," said Mr Tsang.
Sogo department store anniversary in November. Miss Li found that the popular scenes of the past were missing here: the crowds lined up at the anniversary store in previous years were all lined up to the subway entrance, and now you can buy goods without waiting in line.
During the Christmas season in December, the so-called "decoration" (smashing) of Hong Kong thugs became normal. HSBC Bank in Causeway Bay began to reinforce and protect the external walls and gates because of fear of being burned by people in black.
Affected by violent demonstrations, multiple IPOs in July “broke up” and announced the shelving of listing plans. The Hong Kong capital market cast a shadow over it. Throughout August, only one company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was listed on the gong, which is in stark contrast to the previously lively listing scene. "If Hong Kong steps into the path of violence and does not look back, it will be an abyss."
Social events continue to be coupled with a series of violent shocks, which have greatly affected tourists ’desire to come to Hong Kong, which has drastically reduced Hong Kong ’s local consumption and is the first to hit the consumer and tourism-related industries.
Reporters went to a hot pot restaurant in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong and found that only one staff member was responsible for serving. The clerk introduced that the business was poor and other clerks who delivered food were fired.
There is a Haidilao on the Lee Theatre next to Times Square, which is usually full of popularity. Since the social incident in Hong Kong, guests in the evening have lost half. In the worst cases, they closed the door and hiccupped.
The reporter recently saw the hot crab hot pot restaurant at the bottom of the bridge in Causeway Bay until July. There were only a handful of customers. The clerk said that they had lost millions of Hong Kong dollars each month in the past few months.
Huang Jiahe, the chairman of the Hong Kong Catering Association, said that Hong Kong's catering business had lost a total of 17 billion Hong Kong dollars in the past six months.
"Hong Kong currently has 400 restaurants closed. As the storm of revisions has not subsided, business will decline further in December. The next calendar year and the lunar calendar year should have increased by 10% -15%, but this year it has turned down. Huang Jiahe said that if many SMEs can't survive the crisis, I am afraid that there will be more than a thousand restaurants closed after the Lunar New Year.
Central is a gathering place for Hong Kong's financial centre. Demonstrators often gather at noon and block the road. During lunch, demonstrators gathered on Pedder Street and shouted slogans. Demonstrators have also surrounded many important financial institutions in Hong Kong, and even smashed the business outlets of financial institutions. Several financial institutions temporarily cancelled important meetings.
These historical clips have caused many Hong Kong people to worry, and because they worry about the safety of themselves and their relatives and friends, they have reduced their outings and have no desire to spend.
Chen Maobo said that Hong Kong ’s retail sales volume dropped sharply by 26% in October 2019, the biggest monthly drop in history, and it was not much better in November. These scenes also scare foreign business or sightseeing tourists, and even in traditional peak seasons such as Christmas Eve and Christmas, the number of arrivals has decreased by about half. Hong Kong's economy has entered a recession, and a large number of grassroots wage earners bear the brunt of it. Their income has decreased and they are even facing unemployment. The unemployment rate in the catering service industry has risen to more than 6%, the highest in more than eight years. Hong Kong's economy grew negatively by 2.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, of which two percentage points were caused by these violent shocks and social unrest.
Chen Maobo said: "While going through 2019, whether it is with fear, anxiety, anger or perplexity, we can choose to have hope for the future as we approach 2020."