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Radical forces are ruining HK economy

(People's Daily Online)    14:31, August 30, 2019

Hong Kong's economy continues on a downward path as violence engulfs the city, as illegal protests continue to escalate after two months of unrest.

According to data provided by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong increased to 2.9 percent in the three months leading up to July 2019, from 2.8 percent in the previous period.

The aggregate unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food service sectors, which create 600,000 jobs, has risen from 3.4 percent at the start of the year to 4.3 percent, with 27,500 unemployed, Paul Chan Mo-po, financial secretary of the government of the Hong Kong SAR, wrote in an article online.

Reports confirmed that a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui had put its employees on leave in August and September. Restaurants, taxis and bus companies have also suspended services. On Aug. 28, a 60-year-old taxi driver committed suicide by jumping from a bridge. It's thought the reason behind it was down to the recent heavy economic burden.

Travel agencies have suffered severe economic losses as tourist numbers to Hong Kong continue to plummet. The number of tour groups arriving in Hong Kong has fallen by more than 70 percent since June, and the average income in the tourism sector fell by 75 percent.

In previous years, the average tour guide would receive 12 to 15 tourist groups per month, but affected by violent protests, this year, tourists from the mainland, Southeast Asia, Europe and the US have canceled their trips, said Wong Ka Ngai, Chairman of Hong Kong Tour Guides General Union.

The retail sector is also suffering. According to the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, most of its member stores have experienced a drop of 50 percent in sales since early August.

The willingness of Hong Kong residents to spend has dropped sharply. The number of orders they placed to buy gifts for the Mid-Autumn Festival stood at 10 percent less than the same period last year, statistics indicated.

The aggregate revenue of the catering services in the second quarter was down 0.4 percent year on year, and 4.6 percent from the previous quarter.

The accommodation industry has been affected, too. The occupancy rate of some hotels in Hong Kong dropped by 30 percent to 40 percent, causing hotel prices to drop.

From August 1-21, the Hong Kong International Airport transported 4.2 million passengers, down 11 percent over the same period last year, and the air freight volume decreased by 14 percent from the same period.

Hong Kong's economy has hit its lowest point since 2009, according to statistics released by the Hong Kong SAR. If violent protests persist, Hong Kong's tourism and consumption-related industries will be severely damaged.

It's hard to build a business, but it's easy to ruin it. Hong Kong has come a long way from its humble beginning as a small fishing village. It took generations of hard work. However, the city's peace and prosperity is being destroyed by radical forces in the selfish pursuit of their own interests.

Violence will exhaust Hong Kong if it is not stopped. A society troubled by conflicts, confrontations and internal friction will barely move forward. The only way to resume peace and prosperity in Hong Kong is to maintain social order, replace conflict with negotiation, and confrontation with discussion. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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