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It’s doubtful that anyone has decided not to go to Hong Kong because of the planned protests. But it the “democracy = bad for business” message certainly portrays city leaders in a poor light.
Hong Kong business associations said a threatened pro-democracy protest in the city’s financial district will dent tourism, hurting retail sales.
Consumer spending in the first quarter has dropped 4.4 percent from the previous three months, and any protests will have a “significant negative impact” in the third quarter, the five groups including the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong said today in an e-mailed statement.
Occupy Central With Peace and Love, an activist group, is threatening to hold a 10,000 strong sit-in at the city’s business district should electoral reforms for the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s top leader fail to meet international standards. The plan has met with opposition from China, tycoons, accounting firms and commerce chambers which said the protests will drive away tourists and cripple business.
The protests will “deter a lot of tourists from coming to Hong Kong,” Charles Yeung, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, told reporters today. “That will affect a lot of people, not just tourism in Central.”
The Alliance for Peace and Democracy, which opposes Occupy Central, has collected 935,635 signatures from residents and tourists against the movement, organizer Robert Chow said today by phone.
The other associations that took part in the press conference today are the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong.
Occupy Central won’t have a big impact on Hong Kong as a financial center as it has deep foundations, David Chin, UBS’s head of corporate-client solutions for Asia, said July 24.
China is demanding that all candidates for the chief executive election be vetted by a committee, a move opposed by some lawmakers and Occupy Central which want public nomination.
Almost 800,000 people voted in an unofficial referendum this month for public nomination, and the city saw its biggest political rally in a decade on July 1 as people marched to demand democratic reforms.
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