Hong Kong Situation Update by Teneo, 24 October 2019

Overview – Thursday, 24 October:

  • Relief measures announced for HK’s tourism sector
  • All nominations for November’s District Council elections confirmed except for Joshua Wong
  • Injunction against public access to voter records to remain in place through 16 December

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HK Protests & Related Developments

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Tau announced a cash incentive scheme to support HK’s tourism sector (link & link). The Federation of HK Trade Unions in Tourism welcomed the relief measures but believe they are not targeted or strong enough (link – Chinese). The Travel Industry Council of HK and HK Chamber of Commerce both welcomed the measures. (link & link)

All candidates for the HK District Council elections on 24 November have been confirmed, with the exception of Demosisto Party leader Joshua Wong, whose responsible electoral official “has been on sick leave” (link). The official was replaced today, but it is unclear if Wong will be approved to run (link).

The temporary injunction shielding HK’s voter registry from public view will remain in force until a Court of First Instance hearing scheduled for 16 December (link). The HK Journalist Association said they respect the court’s decision, but that the injunction could affect election transparency. (link)

Pro-establishment lawmaker Michael Tien said yesterday that he had been told the Chinese government is considering replacing Carrie Lam (link). Critics believe replacing Lam would not accomplish anything without political reform (link – subscription). Lam did not reply to media questions. (link)

Students submitted a letter asking HKU Vice-Chancellor Zhang to condemn police actions and support students arrested during the protests by next Monday (link & link – Chinese). Meanwhile, four HK police associations have denounced CUHK’s Vice-Chancellor for publishing “unverified” allegations of mistreatment against arrested students last week. (link – Chinese)

HK retailers with links to mainland China are reportedly downsizing operations that have been targeted by protesters. Fulum Group Holdings has put eight properties worth HK$2.57 billion on sale and Best Mart 360 and Maxim’s Group Genki Sushi is debating whether to renew leases for some outlets. (link)

Regional & Global Political Affairs

HK’s Financial Secretary will go to London on 25 October to brief government officials, Members of Parliament and business sector representatives on developments in HK. (link)

Protestors gathered outside the British Consulate in Hong Kong yesterday to support a debate on HK taking place in the House of Lords on Thursday, 24 October (link). The debate was called by Lord Alton of Liverpool. (link)

Business & Industry Developments

At a WSJ conference yesterday, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger stated he would not take a stance on the HK protests, saying: “to take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake.” (link – subscription)

Following a string of event cancellations in HK in recent months, Art Basel announced the exhibitor list for the 2020 edition of the HK fair. Some galleries have changed since last year, but the number of exhibitors is the same as in 2019. (link)

NBA season opening matches were not broadcast in China yesterday following tensions over a team executive’s statements about the HK protests. The games were still accessible on Tencent’s internet streaming services. (link)

The HK Census and Statistics Department announced today that HK’s exports and imports recorded year-on-year decreases of 7.3% and 10.3% in September, respectively. For the first nine months of 2019 the total value of exports dropped by 4.6% year-on-year and the value of imports decreased by 6.5%. (link)

Additional Articles & Themes of Interest

The Independent: Did the Hong Kong government think they could end it? Our street protest is now a global democracy campaign
Hong Kong’s legislative council may have finally…withdrawn the extradition bill, but it cannot pretend it can heal Hong Kong’s society…This delayed official withdrawal of the extradition bill is not going to resolve Hong Kong’s problems. All it ever did was unwrap the rotten essence at the core of Hong Kong politics. Fortunately, at the same time, we believe the international community has woken up to the idea that the spectre of Chinese involvement in the running of Hong Kong calls into question the trust needed to support their business or political interests in the city.

The Straits Times: Hong Kong protests an example of backlash against neoliberalism (subscription)
[Hong Kong’s] flawed economic ideology has largely escaped attention as the other factor driving dissatisfaction. “The People Strike Back” wave in the West and now Hong Kong can be termed the neoliberalism backlash. [In] Neoliberalism…the role of the state is privatised to the markets, and corporations take over as the dominant actor in citizens’ lives…Hong Kong’s neoliberal tendencies…[have] seen the world pass it by while persistent social problems remain unaddressed. Unlike Singapore, the US and Britain, however, Hong Kong lacks the electoral feedback loop for its economically frustrated citizens to steer the territory’s policies in their favour.

Nikkei Asian Review: From Hong Kong to the NBA, how China is losing the media war
Wary that the government — with its vast resources and its access to global and local media channels — was able to drive the news cycle with its own interpretation of events…protesters began to organize…to speak for themselves. As protests rage on the street, backroom volunteers have amplified and broadcast their demands, exposed police aggression, and helped to give a human face to a pro-democracy movement that has vacillated between peaceful protest and violent resistance…As they fought for public support at home, the protest groups also reached out internationally. The government tried to use the same channels to sway opinion around the world…[but] did not swing opinion in their favor; internationally, the Hong Kong government’s brand had become toxic.

Note: The views presented in this email are those of the authors and are included for informational purposes only. Teneo does not endorse any of the material or views shared.  

Potential Significant Protests

*NOTE: The below includes an overview of potential upcoming events, many of which are subject to change as developments unfold. This is provided only as an FYI of potential impact on travel or logistics arrangements in Hong Kong

Date & Time Event & Potential Size Location &
Affected Areas
Additional Details
Daily Wear a Mask Day ·         Hong Kong ·         Encouraging HK citizens to wear a mask under the anti-mask law
Sunday,
27 October
3:00pm
“10.27 Fight against Police Brutality Stand with Muslim, Citizens & Journalists” Rally ·         Salisbury Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui ·         To raise Muslim and the global population’s awareness of the demands of Hong Kong people
·         Organised by Stand With Journalists, Hong Kong (SWJHK)
Thursday,  
31 October
7:00-11:00pm
Never forget 31 August, give us the truth – Sit-in ·         Prince Edward Station ·         To commemorate those injured during the 831 incident
·         To urge the government to investigate police’s use of violence
Thursday,  
31 October
7:30-10:00pm
Halloween Make-up Masquerade Party ·         Victoria Park to Lan Kwai Fong, Central ·         Dress up and wear make-up to party along Victoria Park and Lan Kwai Fong
27 October to 30 November
12:00-6:00pm
“Umbrella Movement” 5th Anniversary Exhibition ·         June 4th Museum, Mong Kok ·         Seminars, screenings, sharing and various activities will be held during the exhibition period.
·         Organized by Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
Saturday
2 November
3:00pm
Victoria Park Rally ·         Central lawn, Victoria Park, Causeway Bay ·         Letter of No Objection pending
·         Over nine cities around the world are said to support the campaign
Sunday
3 November
2:00pm
Rally Opposing Public Order Ordinance ·         Victoria Park, Causeway Bay ·         To protest the “Letter of No Objection” system

Potential Additional Protest Events

Date & Time Event & Location Location &
Potential Size
Additional Details
Every Monday Secondary School Student Strike ·         Students ·         Rallies and strikes at schools
Thursday, 24 October
7:00-9:00pm
Hong Kong-Catalonia Solidarity Assembly ·         Chater Garden ·         Stand with Hong Kong and Catalonia
·         Letter of No Objection has been obtained
Thursday, 24 October
9:00pm
Citywide Lennon Day ·         Lennon walls around Hong Kong ·         To post publicity materials and memos together
Friday,
25 October
Chungking Mansions Thanksgiving Day ·         Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui ·         To express gratitude to ethnic minorities who supported the protestors
Friday,
25 October
7:00am
Going to Work with You ·         Hong Kong Island
·         Kowloon
·         Participants asked to wear masks due to influenza peak season
Saturday,  
26 October
12:00nn
Stress Test for Pro-democratic Shops ·         Hong Kong ·         To consume at shops which support protestors
Saturday,  
26 October
1:00pm
Anti-white terror; anti-totalitarianism
rally
·         Tamar Park, Admiralty ·         Stand with the sacked employees because of political stance
Sunday,
27 October
4:00pm
10.27 Paper Crane Origami for Freedom and Memorial Service ·         Kwun Tong Promenade ·         To commemorate protestors who lost their lives
·         The organizer did not apply for Letter of No Objection
Every day in November Salute to Police Month ·         Hong Kong ·         Supported by DAB, Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, and Junius Ho
·         Calling for citizens to salute or bow to police officers
·         Asking the public to take photos/videos of those who do not follow and report to the organizer

Injunctions

Date of Grant Plaintiff Effective Date Injunction Orders
Friday,
23 August  
Airport Authority This Order will remain in force until trial or further order Link to the injunction order
Friday,
23 August  
MTR Corporation Limited This Order will remain in force indefinitely unless it is varied or discharged by a further Order of the Court Link to the injunction order

HK Travel Advisories – October

Location Updated   Key Advisory Notes
Hong Kong Airport Still current ·         Until further notice, only bona fide passengers with a valid air ticket or boarding pass for a flight in the next 24 hours and a valid travel document will be allowed to enter the terminal buildings.
·         Passengers should arrive at least three hours before departure to allow sufficient time to pass through newly added control points.
·         Other members of the public, including those who may want to accompany departure passengers or receiving arrival passengers at the airport, should not travel to the airport unless absolutely necessary.
U. K Foreign Ministry Updated: 21 October

Still current

·         While a number of peaceful activities have taken place, many other protests have led to clashes between police and protesters involving significant violence.
·         Some Mass Transit Railway (MTR) metro stations have been closed – including in major tourist areas – due to damage caused by the protests. You should follow the MTR website for the latest updates before commencing your journey.
·         The situation around protests and public gatherings can change quickly, with the potential for violence, especially during unauthorised protests.
·         Protests can deviate from planned routes or rally locations and spill over into nearby public spaces, such as shopping centres, housing estates and public transport hubs.
·         For important safety and security information surrounding protests, see Political situation
Ireland Foreign Ministry Updated:
18 October

Still current

·         High degree of caution
·         The violence intensified around the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October and further demonstrations are likely to take place in the coming days and weeks.
·         Such demonstrations can close off large sections of the city and affect public transport. While Causeway Bay and Admiralty and surrounding districts have been the focal point of demonstrations, protests have occurred in many other areas of Hong Kong.
·         Urge people to be extra vigilant and are strongly advised to avoid areas where protests and unplanned public gatherings are taking place and to follow the advice of the local authorities.
Australia Foreign Ministry Updated:
18 October

Still current

·         Exercise a high degree of caution.
·         Protests continue and are less predictable. There is an ongoing risk of violent confrontation. Protests may cause traffic disruptions and affect transport services, including to and from the international airport.
·         ‘Flash mob’ demonstrations can take place with little or no warning, clashes between opposing groups and individuals have become less predictable and are expected to continue.
Singapore Foreign Ministry Updated:
18 October
·         Large-scale protests have been taking place across Hong Kong since June 2019 which have become increasingly unpredictable.
·         These protests can take place with little or no notice and could turn violent. Road closures and traffic disruptions in the aforementioned areas are expected.
·         Singaporeans are advised to defer non-essential travel to Hong Kong, given current developments. If you are already in Hong Kong, you should takze all necessary precautions to ensure your personal safety. You are advised to stay vigilant, monitor developments through the local news, and heed the instructions of the local authorities.
·         You should avoid protests and large public gatherings and stay in touch with your family and friends so that they know you are safe.
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 
Updated:
18 October

Still current

·         Hong Kong (All the country): Level 1: Please be careful (new)
·         Protests, some guerrilla-like, take place despite police disapproval. There is also a tendency for conflicts between protesters and police authorities to escalate.
·         Protests are taking place in a wide range of Hong Kong, including airports and some tourist spots.
Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Updated:
15 October

Still current

·         Since the beginning of June 2019, large-scale demonstrations, unannounced protests and calls for strike have repeatedly led to disruption of public life, inner-city traffic, such as the closure of metro stations (MTR), as well as partial interruptions of air traffic at Hong Kong International Airport.
·         Violent clashes between demonstrators and the police also take place during the protests, in part with the use of water throwing and tear gas. The protests are occasionally increasingly without prior notice in districts for which no demonstrations or rallies are allowed.
U.S Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs Updated:
7 October
·         Hong Kong – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
·         While protests are generally peaceful, they sometimes become violent and disrupt transportation across Hong Kong.
·         The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighbourhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies.
·         U.S. citizens, as well as U.S. Consulate General employees, have been subject to a People’s Republic of China propaganda campaign falsely accusing the United States of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong.
Canada Foreign Ministry Updated:
2 October

Still current

·         High degree of caution due to ongoing large-scale demonstrations.
·         Although many protest sites are made public in advance, authorised and unauthorized demonstrations can take place with little or no notice. They can quickly spread to surrounding areas, including those frequented by tourists.
 Consulate General of India Updated:
13 August
·         Indian passengers are advised to be in touch with airlines to find alternative travel routes to avoid inconvenience, till normalcy is restored in airport operations.
·         Indian passengers who are already in Hong Kong and waiting to depart are advised to be in touch with their respective airlines for information about likely timelines for resumption of their flights.

Upcoming Key Events

Date   Event & Location Relevant Parties Potential Developments
Tuesday,  
Weekly  
HK Executive Council Meeting ·         Chief Executive Lam and all senior administrative officials ·         Chief Executive has held occasional press conferences prior to private ExCo meetings
·         Has been a primary government channel on the protests to date
Thursday,
24 October
6:00pm  
British Parliament meeting ·         House of Lords ·         Debate on recent political unrest in Hong Kong and calls to offer residents of Hong Kong citizenship in another country
Thursday,
24 October
Briefing for district council candidates ·         Electoral Affairs Commission Chairman Barnabas Fung
·         District council candidates
·         Drawing of lots to determine the order of candidate names on ballot papers. (link)
Thursday,  
31 October
Joint Business Community Luncheon with Chief Executive Lam ·         Chief Executive Lam  
Sunday,  
17 November
Xi and Trump’s APEC Meeting ·         Chinese President Xi
·         US President Trump
·         Trump said on 11 October the US and China have reached phase one of a trade deal, and that a finalized agreement could take three to five weeks
Sunday,  
24 November  
HK District Council Elections ·         Local political parties and groups ·         Pending announcement of the nomination period
·         Young individuals with no political affiliation are seen setting up Facebook pages to promote visions
·         Election Affairs Commission
Saturday,
11 January  
Taiwan General Election ·         Presidential and local elections ·         HK and ‘One Country, Two Systems’, may become the defining issue of the election, alongside economy

 

Taylor Brown
Senior Associate

Teneo
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