The South China Morning Post published an editorial titled, “More than money needed to resolve city’s political crisis.” The editorial argues, as the title says, that the political situation in Hong Kong cannot be resolved by pumping money into HK’s economy. We agree. As we said in this article on this site, “You can only buy people off for so long.”
Hong Kong is facing both political and financial problems, some brought on by the U.S. tariffs, and others brought on by Beijing and the HK government’s ham-fisted handling of the political situation (brought on by the proposed extradition amendment to HK’s laws) and the resulting protests. As committed authoritarians and statists, Beijing just cannot see why people would be angry at the loss of their political freedoms and right to self-determination. They seem to think that if people are prospering financially, then they won’t care what kind of government they have. That might be true in mainland China, where the people have never had political freedom or lived under the rule of law. Hong Kong is a much different case. Once people are free, they will not willingly surrender their freedoms. This is a huge blind spot for Beijing.
The SCMP editorial concludes:
The political crisis can only be resolved by political measures. It is incumbent upon the Lam administration to gear up for the challenge, not just to help businesses weather the storm, but also tackle the root of the problem.SCMP Editorial
The editorial is no doubt in response to measures introduced by the HK government to deal with HK’s economic problems, reported on in a related article cited in their editorial.
The sweeteners, spanning help for small businesses to student subsidies and fee waivers for low-income households, will cost the government nearly 50 per cent more than it had originally planned for one-off measures in the annual budget for this year, which carried the price tag of HK$42.9 billion.
Making the announcement, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-poSCMP Article
cited a host of reasons for the relief measures but studiously avoided the word “protests”, describing the anti-government demonstrations of the past two months instead as “recent social incidents”.
The SCMP editorial is spot-on. Unfortunately, unless and until the CCP is willing to allow political freedom in China as a whole and let the Chinese people exercise their right to self-determination that all people naturally have, this problem will not be resolved.