Dan Harris, a lawyer at the Seattle firm of Harris Bricken who has done business in the region for decades, says the ongoing protests mean Hong Kong as an international financial centre is “no more”.
“It’s finished as an international business centre because it was based on trust, safety and the rule of law and that’s all gone. Companies are looking to leave. No one is thinking of moving in,” he said.
He also believes there is no appetite in Beijing to save the way Hong Kong is currently established. After all, it only accounts for 3% of the mainland’s economy, compared with 11% at the time of the handover from the British in 1997. Harris thinks forceful intervention by the mainland is inevitable.
“There is no resolution to this. China does not care about Hong Kong. A lot of people in Beijing hate the place and they want to put it in its place. Who’s fighting for Hong Kong? Not many people. China is not backing down because they want to send a message to Xinjiang and Taiwan.”