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What does HKSAR need from its people?

CGTN | Updated: 2019-11-22 09:52

Editor's note: Azhar Azam works in a private organization as a market and business analyst and writes about geopolitical issues and regional conflicts. The article reflects the author's opinions, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Hong Kong was one of the world's safest cities, but over the past few months, the foreign-backed social unrest, combined with vandalism to public properties and infrastructure networks, has fatally tainted the territory's image for being a safe city and an important international trade and financial hub.

The ceaseless strife in Hong Kong has dropped its ranking in the Safe Cities Index from nine in 2017 to 20 in 2019, plunged GDP by 2.9 percent in the third quarter of 2019, intensely affected visitors' arrival, and enormously stifled retail sales and other economic numbers.

The lower GDP and higher "economic fever" have debilitated growth, which is hitting the wallets of people in Hong Kong in the form of slackened average income. The turbulence has also put a squeeze on new employment opportunities besides slicing existing jobs.

Lurching economic numbers and deteriorating conditions have not prompted rioters to mend their radical actions. Tolerance seems to have disappeared as the newest footage shows some radicals dousing a man in a flammable liquid and setting him on fire.

It was unfortunate that the latest call from the Chinese government to quell the violence in accordance with law was responded with such a gruesome incident by the rioters, which shook the world and enumerated that the violent protests are inching toward terrorism.

The horrendous incident also flaunted that the radicals have nothing to do with the welfare and prosperity of the region's people and were not campaigning for the so-called "pro-democratic" rights in the region, but were pursuing to destabilize and spark havoc to gain international traction.

Candidly, violent protesters should have dispersed immediately after Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, shelved the fugitive bill and China endorsed its support, respect and understanding. But since the rioters' Western masters barred them from returning home, the brutish strikers continued to wreak mayhem in the city.

Violent protesters should feel blessed that their chief executive and the parental Chinese government have shown incredible tolerance and have not yet opted to employ harsh measures, which are routinely undertaken by global governments to crush the goaded disarray.

However, if the violence continues to burgeon in Hong Kong and the radicals are disinclined to quit their vehement and vandalistic acts, the worsening circumstances could anytime spillover Lam's forbearance and could induce her to forego the course of her maximum restraint and devise a more strict action plan to ensure peace and stability.

In addition, since the rioters are indisposed to overturn their defiance and engage in a dialogue with Lam's administration, the region is threatening to be pushed into such an ultimate turmoil where no one would be able to rheostat the serious consequences.

Therefore, in the face of the continued violence and economic turmoil, the HKSAR and people in Hong Kong need to come to light and step up their efforts to denounce and dissuade the violent protests that have reeled their city into chaos and its economy toward "technical recession."

While it is the fundamental duty of any government to restore peace and stability in its controlled region, it is also the responsibility of the citizens to back and aid their administration to cope with extremism and violence.

Appreciatively, many ordinary people in Hong Kong want peace and stability and are fed up with the disruptive activities being carried out by the rioters. The recent online petition, which called for an end to violence and was signed by more than 1.1 million local people, is testimony that many people in Hong Kong have strong faith in their government and the basic principle of "One Country, Two Systems."

HKSAR should take a note from local people's sentiments and increasingly synchronize with them to defuse the volatile situation in the city, as they are the only ones who can help the region recover from desolation.

Hong Kong authorities should further focus to forge government-public fusions and exert united and concerted efforts to lift their region from uncertainty and unrest and prevent the city from becoming another casualty of the "great game."

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