Hong Kong Situation Update by Teneo, 31 October 2019

Overview – Thursday, 31 October:

  • Government Q3 GDP estimates show a decrease of 2.9% from a year earlier
    · Protest march planned for this evening ending in Central, Ocean Park cancels its Halloween Fest
    · HK High Court holding hearings on the government’s mask ban

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HK Protests & Related Developments

The government released its advance estimates for Q3 GDP, which showed a 2.9% decrease in real terms from a year earlier. The decline of GDP was attributed to the weak performance in both domestic and external demand. On an adjusted-basis, GDP is estimated to have decreased by 3.2% in real terms when compared to the previous quarter. (link)

A protest march is planned tonight starting from Causeway Bay and finishing in Lan Kwai Fong in Central. Protestors reportedly plan to mix with Halloween partygoers in Lan Kwai Fong. (link & link – Chinese)

Ocean Park cancelled its Halloween Fest, previously scheduled to take place this evening (link). Music festival Clockenflap yesterday confirmed it would take place in late November (link). The HK Tourism Board also confirmed its Great November Feast would still happen. (link)

The High Court will today hold two hearings on the government’s anti-mask law. The first challenge questions the constitutionality of the ban. The second, lodged by pro-democracy campaigners, aims to challenge the emergency law used by Carrie Lam. (link)

Polytechnic University students staged a protest yesterday against the institution’s President, who refused to shake hands with students who wore masks at a graduation ceremony (link). HKU students issued a deadline of 19:00 today for Vice-Chancellor Zhang Xiang to hold a dialogue session with them, or they would escalate actions targeting his office. (link)

Following a number of police raids yesterday evening in Tuen Mun, reports state a total of 73 people were arrested. (link)

Regional & Global Political Affairs

The HK & Macao Office of the State Council said the HK government’s decision to ban Joshua Wong from the District Council elections was based on factual evidence and a strong legal basis. The Office agreed with, and supported, the decision. (link – Chinese)

Business & Industry Developments

The potential sale of the Taiwan-headquartered Fubon Bank has reportedly been delayed due to the HK protests. (link)

According to Oscar Munoz, CEO of United Airlines, demand for the airline’s flights to HK is back up to the levels they were at before the protests started. (link)

HSBC and Standard Chartered both reported solid financial performance for their HK business segments (link and link). K.C. Chan, HK’s former Financial Services and Treasury Secretary, said in an interview it would take “huge structural change” for HK to lose its position as a financial centre. That said, local banks are facing more challenging conditions. (link)

Additional Articles & Themes of Interest

Channel News Asia: Has the use of violence in HK backfired?
Since the Hong Kong government invoked an emergency law and banned face masks in early October, violence has risen to unprecedented levels…Hong Kong’s economy has also experienced a slump as it enters a recession…The government should have anticipated that the anti-mask law could be perceived as hard-handed and would generate a backlash…But the protesters must also ask themselves: Is this increased use of violence by radical protesters going to help the movement?…[Academic research] shows that non-violent resistance is more than twice as effective as violent tactics in attaining stated goals.

Reuters: Impact of protests in a working-class neighbourhood
Sparked by anger against a controversial extradition bill, protests spread through many of Hong Kong’s 18 districts, putting the city’s freedom-loving populace on a collision course with the local government, and China’s Communist Party leaders behind it. The violence has also come to the concrete towers of Wong Tai Sin, home to tens of thousands of working-class families whose struggles are woven into the fabric and lore of Hong Kong’s global rise. And with the unrest has come a test of what Hong Kongers call “the Lion Rock spirit” – this city’s sense of community and grit in the face of hardship.

SCMP: Replacing Carrie Lam with Beijing puppet
Hong Kong is like a puppet show morphing into a Greek tragedy. It is a cruel fact that most Hongkongers consider [HK Chief Executive Carrie] Lam a puppet doing Beijing’s bidding instead of accurately reflecting the people’s views to her bosses. Since the crisis erupted over her now-dead extradition bill, everything she has done proves rather than disproves that fact. She has not demonstrated in any way that she is on the side of the people or dares to stand up to her bosses. We are at a stage where replacing Lam is pointless. Anyone Beijing trusts to succeed Lam will be seen by Hongkongers as just another puppet.

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
31 October
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
31 October
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
1 November
Lunch Time Flash Mob Demonstration · 12:30pm at Chater Garden, Central
· 12.45pm at InPARK, Kwun Tong
· One month anniversary of 10.1, when a student was shot by police’s live round
· To protest the government’s decision to ban Joshua Wong from District Council elections
2 November
“112 Emergency Call for HK Autonomy” Rally · Central lawn, Victoria Park, Causeway Bay · Letter of No Objection pending approval
· Over nine cities around the world are said to support the campaign
9 November
30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall · Edinburgh Place, Central · Letter of No Objection pending approval
21 November
Never Forget 7.21 Sit-In · Yuen Long MTR Station
· YOHO Mall
· To remind the public to seek the truth of the 7.21 Yuen Long Attack

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
5 November
Face Mask Day · Hong Kong · In response to the anti-mask law being in force for a month
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


Date of Grant Plaintiff Effective Date Injunction Orders
25 October
Department of Justice The interim injunction will remain in force up to and including Friday, 8 November 2019 at 10:30am. Link to the injunction order
23 August
Airport Authority This Order will remain in force until trial or further order Link to the injunction order
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:
31 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
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Updated:
31 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.
Singapore Foreign Ministry Updated:
30 October
· 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:
30 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.
Ireland Foreign Ministry Updated:
29 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.
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
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
Monday – Thursday
28 – 31 October
The fourth plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China · The Communist Party of China · Examining how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance
31 October
Joint Business Community Luncheon with Chief Executive Lam · Chief Executive Lam
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
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
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

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