Hong Kong’s leaders must address the grievances fueling nearly two months of protests, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) said yesterday, as the business community becomes increasingly alarmed by the chaos engulfing the financial hub.
The once stable territory is reeling from weeks of protests against the government that show no sign of abating.
What began as a mass display of opposition to an extradition bill in March has morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing’s authority since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Moreover, there is growing frustration over the seeming inability — or unwillingness — of Beijing and the territory’s leaders to offer compromises or a solution that might end the political crisis.
AmCham said “a clear majority” of its members felt Hong Kong’s leaders needed to do more to address core protester demands, including an independent inquiry into the unrest and a permanent withdrawal of the extradition bill.
“The government should take immediate and tangible actions to address the root causes of recent demonstrations and restore confidence in the city’s status as Asia’s pre-eminent international business and financial centre,” it said in a statement.
AmCham president Tara Joseph said the administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) needed to “show clear leadership in meeting the expectations of Hong Kong people and in restoring the city’s international reputation for effective governance.”
“A clear majority of our membership surveyed over the past week said the government needs to address the underlying causes of the protests and not simply to paper over the cracks of social instability with a short-term law-and-order fix,” she added.
The statement follows a similar rebuke last week from the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, which also called for a permanent shelving of the extradition bill and an inquiry.
Lam has faced growing criticism over her response to the crisis, both from opponents, but also within the civil service and the territory’s pro-Beijing establishment ranks.
Beyond agreeing to postpone the widely loathed extradition bill, she has made few compromises.
She has also made few public appearances in recent weeks, despite the unprecedented scenes of violence. Over the weekend she was pictured visiting a Chinese army barracks in the territory.
Beijing has backed Lam and issued increasingly shrill condemnations, dismissing protester grievances and portraying the rallies as a foreign-funded conspiracy.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s
PANDEMIC BIGOTRY? The convener of a community group said that COVID-19 did not cause racism in Australia, but the incidents were a symptom of a bigger issue Anti-Discrimination New South Wales (NSW) has recorded a surge in anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state anti-discrimination body said that it received 241 official complaints from Jan. 1 to April 30. Of those, 62 were on the grounds of race — an average of four complaints a week — including reports of people being abused or spat at in public, harassed for wearing a mask and car windows being smashed. Those statistics do not include more serious complaints referred to the NSW police, rather than Anti-Discrimination NSW. Anti-Discrimination NSW president Annabelle Bennett said that the agency had experienced an “increase in