A substantial number of football fans scoffed, sneered, and openly held up boo signs at Hong Kong’s main stadium on Tuesday night as China’s national anthem was sang before the game, while others crooned “Revolution of our time” and “Liberate Hong Kong.”
Despite the existing stipulation that disrespecting the national anthem is an offence in China, local fans continued to chant protest slogans during the match. Other fans sang “Glory to Hong Kong,” a song that has become the battle cry for many democratic freedom fighters in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
“We hope we can unite Hong Kong,” said one of those booing, Ah Wing, wearing a red Hong Kong team shirt and glasses. “Even if we lose, we’ll keep going. That’s what we do against strong teams, against strong enemies.”
Continuing protests vs. Hong Kong’s economy
The oftentimes aggressive protests have already taken a toll on Hong Kong’s economy that is on its way to its first recession in a decade. Hong Kong visitor arrivals decreased almost 40% in August.
Stephen Schwarz, head of sovereign ratings for the Asia-Pacific region at Fitch Ratings, said the agency’s downgrade of Hong Kong last week reflected damage to the city’s reputation as a place to do business.
“The downgrade reflects months of ongoing conflict environment which are testing the ‘one country, two systems’ framework and which have inflicted damage to the international perception of the quality and effectiveness of Hong Kong’s governance and rule of law as well as the stability of its business environment,” Schwarz said.
Extradition Bill withdrawn yet nobody’s happy
Carrie Lam, who is perhaps the most detested leader today in Hong Kong withdrew the controversial extradition bill that triggered the unrest last week, however, the move did not elicit the expected response and failed to appease many protesters.
During a dialogue on Tuesday initiated by Lam, she said, “Escalation and continuation of violence cannot solve the issues faced by our society now. “It will only deepen the conflict, contradiction, splits, and even hatred in society.”
Lam said her administration’s actions, including the bill’s formal withdrawal, were “not directly to stop these protests and violence.”
“It is really to express my sincerity to start a dialogue with the people,” she said. -/TISG
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