Asia Minute: Hong Kong Marks a Somber Milestone

Sep 18, 2019

Protests in Hong Kong have marked another milestone this week. It’s now been more than a hundred days since street demonstrations began in the city. And the path to resolution still looks complicated.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam plans what she calls “an open dialogue” next week with as many as 200 members of the public. While details are vague, she said Tuesday “we will invite people from all walks of life to express their views to us.”

The views of some are darkening.

On Monday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its outlook for Hong Kong’s credit rating from stable to negative — echoing the judgement of Fitch Ratings earlier this month.

Last week, the Women’s Tennis Association postponed the Hong Kong Open tournament scheduled for next month. While entertainers from K-pop groups to comedian Trevor Noah have cancelled shows in the city.

Tourism figures show a 40% decline in visitor arrivals in August compared to a year earlier — hotel occupancy rates are down by about half. Hong Kong’s stock market has remained relatively stable –down less than 4% since early June.

Supporters call that encouraging, and are looking for help to tell a positive story.

The South China Morning Post reports the Hong Kong government recently contacted eight public relations firms to help rebuild the city’s image.

All eight firms declined to bid on a contract.