PS: can Hong Kong avoid the tragedy?

PS: может ли Гонконг избежать трагедии?

After nearly six months after the start of the protests in our city, they reached climax. One of the November days have been particularly destructive: the police used more than 1,500 tear gas grenades; a police officer, fighting off attackers, was shot point-blank demonstrators; protesters set fire to a man who was not agree with them. Already arrested more than 4 thousand people, destroyed infrastructure, and the economy plunged into recession. And all this for what?The Hong Kong government withdrew the bill on extradition, which provoked protests. But the protesters are raging, without having any coherent strategy or requirements. They claim that the fight for democracy, but it is difficult to reconcile this exalted aim with medieval catapults, firing bricks and bottles with an incendiary mix. In reality, the protesters used the strategy of scorched earth can only lead to more chaos, destruction and death.It should not be. Trying to help find a solution, we conducted PEST-analysis (i.e. political, economic, socio-cultural and technological analysis) of current situation and future prospects of Hong Kong.On the political front, the main conclusion is that the task of ensuring order and security lies with the government. Under the principle of “one country, two systems” own the Hong Kong government has the authority to resolve internal problems in the security sphere. However, in cases when his actions prove inadequate, the Central government of China there is a right and duty to intervene. Allowing peaceful demonstrations to escalate into full-scale riots, Hong Kong protesters have made such interference inevitable.Economically, Hong Kong is already paying a high price for the prolonged protests. In July-September, the city’s GDP decreased by 3.2% compared with the previous quarter — this is the worst economic result since the global financial crisis of 2008.However, all is not lost, because the stock market city continues to function. The largest Chinese company e-Commerce Alibaba, which owns the world record for the size of the IPO (IPO) continues implementation of a plan for obtaining a secondary listing in Hong Kong, where it expects to attract nearly $13 billion For the last about two decades due to IPO in Hong Kong, was able to attract more funds than in the course of the IPO in the US or in mainland China. The market capitalization of all companies listed on the Hong Kong exchange, approximately equal to half the capitalization of all companies listed on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong is a key platform for managing offshore financial assets in China, as well as a critical link in global production chains: around 60% of the inflow of foreign direct investment in China passes through this town.However, all of these economic benefits showed unexpected social consequences: inequality in the city has reached the highest in 45 years. As in many Western countries, property owners, developers and professionals of the elite accumulate wealth, while workers in Hong Kong belonging to the “lower classes” of the middle class, stagnated income and rising housing prices. The resulting frustration is the root cause of the current turmoil.Negative public sentiments are aggravated by constant errors in the management of the city. On the background of large-scale and radical social, geopolitical and technological changes of the Hong Kong government followed a proactive policy that would simultaneously respond to new developments and anticipate future challenges, and it was necessary to begin with the problem of the shortage of affordable housing. However, the authorities remained faithful to the principle legacy of the colonial era — “positive non-intervention”, and so the problems festered and people’s anger was growing.And this anger is found in social networks.Technology has shaken the foundations of the principle of “one country, two systems” because they contributed to the “information chaos”, that is, the distribution of the huge amounts of biased, misleading and blatantly false information that is often done to incite anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong. The problem is exacerbated by the formation of echo-chambers and closed the filters drop-out information bubble where youth are taught the idea that to blame all her troubles should mainland China.When these ideas began to lead to real action, the protesters began to use social media for the organization, documentation and dissemination of information about its activities, often anonymously. As for the demonstrators and their opponents, social networks have become an essential tool for the formation of the world picture, as they allow them to share photos that illustrate, say, police brutality or violence from the protesters.However, social networks are not only weapons, but the battlefield. In August, more than 1600 police officers and their family members become victim of the so-called “doxing”, that is, disclosure of personal information about a person on the Internet to provoke bullying (or worse). In some cases, even extends to the addresses of the schools attended by their children. (Some journalists and opposition figures have also been doxing). But despite these provocations, the Hong Kong police showed impressive restraint. Yes, in the chaos, two people were killed. But compare this figure with the 22 protesters killed in just two weeks of demonstrations in Chile Santiago, or with more than a hundred people killed during recent protests in Iran.If the United States or in France, protesters staged riots within six months, the governments of these countries would have sent the national guard to suppress the riots. Meanwhile, China demonstrates the strategic patience, knowing that direct intervention can help those who seek to portray this conflict as a “clash of civilizations”, and especially now when the country is involved in complex commercial and strategic confrontation with the United States.However, the longer the violence continues, the fewer options for further action remains with all parties. As shown by the latest elections to the district councils (the turnout was 71.2%), the people can peacefully vote for change. If the protesters did not resort to violence, and prefer to patiently wait for the chance to Express their preferences at the polls, they would send the same signal. The results of the election is a chance for it to reflect on the need to end aggressive protests and begin to work together to eliminate the true causes of discontent. All parties must demonstrate empathy, moderation and willingness to compromise, while developing and conducting management reforms that will comply with the provisions of the Basic law of Hong Kong and the Chinese Constitution.The alternative is not some fairy tale on the theme of an independent and prosperous Hong Kong, a destroyed economy, a divided society and a lost generation. If you pretend that it isn’t, then this outcome will be much harder to avoid.

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