There is some irony in that today is my birthday given that it’s also China National Day. I never imagined that I would spend my birthday out on the streets of Hong Kong showing solidarity for the pro-democracy movement. But then life happens when you are busy making other plans, so I cancelled mine to celebrate on the streets.
Spirits have been unbelievably high and the civil disobedience has been remarkably under control but I can’t help thinking that the mood of analysts is becoming more sombre as the minutes pass.
Earlier this week, Francis Lun of GEO Securities was a guest on my radio show, Money For Nothing. At the time, he suggested that the protestors would soon tire and return home but he has changed his mind since. Today he said the political impasse in Hong Kong was “mutually assured destruction.” The Hang Seng Index has already dropped 700 points on Monday and Tuesday. Francis predicts it will drop another 3000 points to the 20,000 level and warns that Hong Kong could become another Thailand.
Michael DeGolyer, Director of the Hong Kong Transition Project, said on Newswrap that there is no way out now without some sort of damage. He expects an economic impact to kick into gear next week. “Businesses will begin to lay people off,” he said, “there are all sorts of things that China can do without firing a shot that can bring this place (Hong Kong) to its knees fairly quickly – turning off the water, closing the border and preventing our ships from passing through Chinese waters.”
Protestors have threatened to occupy government offices if Chief Executive C.Y.Leung does not resign by October 2nd. Ex-Governor Chris Patten has accused China of reneging on its commitments and the world stands in support of Hong Kong. Yet Beijing is in overdrive to suppress news of the protests on the Mainland.
The fireworks have been cancelled but the song of angry people is interwoven with undercurrents of tension that could set sparks flying at any moment.