Whether the number of protesters last weekend was 2,40,000, as the Hong Kong Police say, or over a million, as the organisers of the protest insist it was, there is no glossing over the fact that the proposed law empowering the local administration to extradite felons to the mainland China does not enjoy popular support. And must be abandoned forthwith.
But abandoning it will not be because the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, who has proposed the move, is doing so at the behest of her bosses in Beijing. She being a mere pawn in the hands of the Chinese authorities, she will ignore the popular upsurge and press ahead with the dangerous law which will further erode Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ and take it a step nearer to making it one authoritarian system.
China is nibbling away slowly but certainly at the freedoms and civic rights available to Hong Kongers but denied to the mainlanders. As a consequence, Hong Kong’s stature as a thriving financial and business hub will suffer, driving away foreign funds and investors.
Hong Kong has invariably served as the first platform for various Chinese enterprises to launch their public issues and to raise funds. In recent years, China has not only interfered in the election of public authorities in Hong Kong, virtually thrusting its choice of top personnel,
it has also curbed universal suffrage, and refused to allow duly-elected legislators to take their seats on one pretext or the other. Sooner than 2030, when China is supposed to absorb Hong Kong fully in itself, the territory will lose its autonomy and, with that, its attraction as a financial hub in the entire region.