HONG KONG: Another night of violent protests, with hard hats and umbrellas and water bottles littering on some central streets occurred last weekend after Beijing said that they will make an announcement on the Asian Financial Centre’s worst crisis since 1997.
It was a rare move for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing, which has cabinet-level authority over the former British colony, to hold a news conference at 0700 GMT about the unrest gripping the city.
This followed another weekend of clashes between protesters and police, which the latter fired rubber bullets and tear gas as the demonstrations grow increasingly violent.
The police was tasked to defend China’s main representative office in Hong Kong from protesters on Sunday for the second consecutive weekend.
Millions of protesters have taken part in the demonstration against a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to China to face trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.
However, due to the series of protests that paralysed parts of the financial district, shut government offices and disrupted business operations across the city, it gave an impact of unrest to the Hong Kong’s economy.
According to a recent survey, international businesses were pessimistic about the short-term prospects for the city due to escalating violence and political deadlock, American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said.
Respondents reported a deepening perception within their companies and among overseas customers that Hong Kong had become less safe and a riskier place in which to conduct business, it said.
“A clear majority of our membership surveyed over the past week said the government needs to address the underlying causes of the protests and not simply to paper over the cracks of social instability with a short-term law and order fix,” AmCham President Tara Joseph said.
A series of protests are planned over coming weeks and the outlook for Hong Kong is increasingly uncertain. Meanwhile, Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung (who has tried to mediate between activists and police) said, Lam needed to heed demands to withdraw the extradition bill and set up an independent commission, among other requests.