tirsdag 30. juli 2019

Neither violence, nor Beijing, can fix Hong Kong’s housing shortage and lack of a social safety net

Hong Kong is now going through one of its worst-ever crises. It did not have to happen, but this is not the time for recriminations. An independent inquiryover the extradition bill affair may help us learn how such a crisis may be avoided in the future, but cannot provide guidance on how to move forward.

Some blame foreign countries for instigating and supporting the protest movement. Some blame supporters of Taiwan independence for egging the protesters along. Some blame certain wealthy individuals, especially former mainland residents, who may have the incentive to trash the bill. All may have lent support to the protesters, not for the good of Hong Kong, but for their own self-interest. However, it is not enough to blame them – we must understand why they succeeded.

To find a way forward, one must recognise that the current disturbances reflect deep-rooted, but until now largely latent, anger and discontent among lower-income groups in Hong Kong, especially younger people. The discontent and perceived lack of hope provided the environment for domestic and foreign agitators to succeed.