well Hong Kong has been under in turmoil
for months after protests were sparked by a bill that would have permitted
extradition to mainland China since then the protests have transformed
into broader anti-government demonstrations now the five months of
protests are taking a toll on not only the Hong Kong economy but US president
ultram signing into law bills but support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy
movement is complicating relations between the US and China and of course
this as the two superpowers have a December 15th deadline to meet now
joining me live from Hong Kong via Skype is David Lee senior lecturer of Business
and Economics at the University of Hong Kong David thanks so much for joining us
now I’m asked somewhere on the ground would you briefly explain to us the
current situation in Hong Kong as your reporter mentioned there’s certainly
been a mole after the district council elections last week but clearly this
weekend there have been protests again you know
most of the transportation system is generally getting back to normal but I
think more broadly the idea of continued protests is probably the new normal it
may not be the larger scale that we saw a few months ago but clearly you know
protesters do a lot of demands I think that haven’t been made yet and that will
continue to manifest itself in the kind of the protest activity that we’ll see
and and beyond that you know a lot of the universities were closed including
my University we basically closed early the semester ended early and we’ve been
doing alternative means of trying to deliver education but you know I don’t
think this is certainly this is not an end to the protests I mean you know it’s
medias a lot of globally certainly protest will continue mm-hm
now I want to get into the business and economic aspect of things how our
business is in Hong Kong being pulled into this I mean how are these protests
in Hong Kong impacting the the economic conditions in Hong Kong for instance for
businesses investment tourism I’m sure there are a lot more to that yes sir
I think broadly if you think of it as two big buckets on one hand there are
obviously businesses that are directly related to people visiting Hong Kong
cities like hotels you know resident shopping areas
restaurants things like that and most of those have been considerably a lot of
these businesses argued towards having in particular mainland visitors who come
from mainland China and if you look at a lot of kind of financial reports
accounting that’s come out I would say the last few weeks even most of those
businesses have been quite hard there are even some businesses that reported
you know even being down upwards of 90 percent of revenue you’re on this
compared to this time last year they’re down 90 percent of revenue so there’s a
number of businesses like that I think in a lot of major tourist and business
destinations in Hong Kong there’s been a fair amount of store closures or
impending store closures because a lot of places can’t meet rents
rents are obviously very very high in Hong Kong so that’s one bucket the
businesses that are you know directly impacted by lack of these zippers but I
think more broadly there has been a backlash it gets a business
establishments particularly those tied to two Chinese mainland Chinese business
entities so you this is when you see in a lot of kind of vandal of analyzation
of store fronts and bank fronts and most of those businesses are tied to either
businesses that are directly somehow related to mainland China or you know
are seem to be support kind of mainland China in all of this and so then it’s
kind of probably the other bucket and both of those combined have put Hong
Kong in a technical recession recently Oh even techno recession know um now
let’s get to the the broader things that how do you expect mr. Trump’s latest
signing a bill supporting pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong would play out in
the us-china trade negotiations China was riled up by this and there’s a
15 to December 15th deadline to meet between US and China yeah I do I think
one thing to point out is that versions of this bill have been around
for years actually four or five years I mean so this bill this law itself though
it’s recently signed into law has been around that idea of this bill it’s been
around for years even probably since occupy Central which is about five years
ago so the idea that goes not new that the context of is obviously new because
it’s happening within the context of large-scale protests in Hong Kong but as
well as kind of a turbulent time in the us-china relationship of no driven by a
large to buy trade at the moment I think the other thing to realize would point
out is that you know being kind of a kind of anti China I guess is one of the
few issues at least in US politics that both Republicans and Democrats are kind
of on the same page about which is reflected in the vote both in the house
vote in the Senate vote for the Hong Kong democracy and Human Rights Act and
so that’s kind of the backdrop so there’s nobody who’s gonna lose
political points for supporting this bill in the US which is why I look
through so quickly now to your question specifically about how this will impact
your sure if it will to be frank um you know the genesis in the impetus of kind
of the u.s. trying to become tough on on China trade had nothing to do with Hong
Kong protests and ultimately from an economic perspective and a business
perspective still really has nothing to do with Hong Kong protests that said you
know trying the protesters here and you know some supporters in the u.s. who
want to make it obvious who try to use this as a tool to try to link those two
issues but I think if you’re just looking at it from a purely business and
economic sense I mean those two are somewhat unrelated but you know that the
nature of politics these days links them but again I think in the long run this
new bill will have minimal effect on the overall kind of result of what happens
with us-china trade and if they end up meeting December 15th deadline or not
you know what that remains to be seen but I think clearly you know the central
government Beijing when it comes to these kind of matters usually takes a
hard line or probe and to these things on how they respond
so I’m not sure that net would be very beneficial moving the process along absolutely so what you’re saying is a
us-china trade negotiations may not be so affected by this but the Hong Kong
economy Chinese economy Chinese businesses really related to Hong Kong
or based in Hong Kong are taking a toll so we’ll have to wait and see how all
this plays out in the world economy David Lee senior lecturer at the
university of hong kong thank you so much for joining us today thank you