Tyranny of minority in Hong Kong takes its toll

Tyranny of minority in Hong Kong takes its toll

Much has been talked about the perniciousness of the tyranny of the minority in politics. But no other event in the world has ever demonstrated such obvious harm as the "Occupy Central" campaign in Hong Kong does now.

Against the wishes of the majority of Hong Kong, the illegal movement masterminded by a few political hotheads has disrupted the normal operation of the city's major commercial centers.

While the magnitude of working hours and business transactions lost due to the disruptions in the city can hardly be measured in any terms, the impact of days of street confrontations on the stock market is more readily quantified. Initial estimates have put investors' aggregate losses at no less than HK$350 billion (S$58 billion).

Retailers have also taken the brunt, with sales in disrupted districts plunging by 30 to 40 per cent over the past few days according to initial estimate by the Hong Kong Retail Management Association. It is conceivable that the figures will deteriorate in future weeks, or even months, as more visitors shun the city following a slew of travel warnings by foreign governments.

With the negative impacts on retail sales and tourism - one of the four pillars of the city's economy - rippling through other sectors, the performance of Hong Kong's economy will be seriously affected. Both rating agency Moody's and the World Bank have warned of the negative consequences on the city's near-term economic performance, with the latter now projecting a slower 2014 growth rate than was being forecast earlier.

The medium- and long-term consequences on the city's overall economic well-being could be more serious if disruptive protests continue for a longer period of time.

There have been fears among economists and analysts that Hong Kong's ability to function as an international financial hub could be undermined if the situation gets worse. With regional rivals gearing up to grab a bigger role in the global financial services sector, this is definitely the least desirable scenario for a city that counts financial and professional services as two of its four pillars for economic growth.

While Hong Kong bears the brunt of the negative impact of the city's street politics, the mainland economy could also be affected to some extent in the long-term, given the close economic ties between Hong Kong and the mainland. This is particularly apparent when considering that the city plays the role as a bridge between the mainland and the external world, as well as a testing ground for financial reforms on the mainland.

Other Views

The essence of democracy lies in respecting the will of the majority, and it must follow some basic principles, such as reasonable discussion, peaceful negotiation and accepting the results, which is evident in a number of countries. The "Occupy Central" organizers are trying to impose their will on that of the majority, and have taken radical means for their selfish political interests; what they are doing is not democracy but "mob-ocracy", which will only lead to the decline of Hong Kong.

china.com.cn, Oct 5

How could a small group of people, who put their narrow interests beyond those of the people, get popular support? How could their political usurpations, which are against democratic principles and disrespect rule of law, be echoed by international media? The failure of "Occupy Central" best shows that they don't represent Hong Kong people's will and any effort by them to kidnap Hong Kong is doomed to fail.

Indonesia-and US-based International Daily News, Oct 7

Some media from the West have claimed "Occupy Central" has popular support. Let the facts speak for themselves. From Sept 30 to Oct 5, the Hong Kong Research Association randomly interviewed 1,361 adult residents by telephone, and 67 per cent of them said they don't support "Occupy Central". Further, 54 per cent of the respondents said the campaign was having a negative effect upon their lives, while 46 per cent worried it might have a negative influence upon Hong Kong's international image.

chinanews.com, Oct 6

The Hong Kong people have suffered much from "Occupy Central": many shops have closed, small-and medium-sized enterprises have seen their sales decline, while several countries have issued travel warnings that have resulted in a drop in the number of visitors to Hong Kong. When can we stop the evil logic that innocent people pay for the selfish interests of an outspoken minority?

rednet.cn, Oct 6

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