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Westlake Legal Group > Hong Kong

No end to Hong Kong violence

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK No end to Hong Kong violence The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong democracy China

Pro-China groups are now involved in the violence consuming Hong Kong. Hong Kong Free Press reported Saturday a large demonstration brawled with democracy protesters at a Kowloon Bay mall while also damaging pro-democracy placards set up across the island. RTHK confirmed the clashes between the two groups before police officers became involved.

The caveat is who it appeared HKPD targeted. RTHK reported officers were accused of being lenient towards pro-Beijing advocates while only arresting anti-extradition bill demonstrators. Stand News, which is pro-democracy, supported the report and noted officers pushed a photojournalist out of the way and into a wall.

A pro-China protester was also injured after police left the area. RTHK reported the attack happened because he was spotted taking pictures of anti-government protesters. There’s no defense of violence but it’s likely there was fear he was an undercover cop sent to blend in with those who are against the government. The anxiety is understandable given the fact protesters have been arrested by police at their homes. It doesn’t justify the violence but provides a bit of a lens into a possible motive.

Violence broke out again today as demonstrators clogged the streets near the Hong Kong government offices in support of International Democracy Day. The march was originally canceled by police but thousands showed up anyway.

“Even though the police rejected our march today we will still come out because it is our right to do it,” a registered nurse called ‘Ms. Chow’ by Hong Kong Free Press stated while holding a sign vowing protesters would not surrender to Hong Kong. “I think the majority of Hong Kong people are not afraid of coming out.”

The sentiment was shared by others taking part in the gathering.

“This is the first rally since the withdrawal of the extradition bill,” protester Terence Pang told South China Morning Post while he sat in a wheelchair. “That’s important because we need to let the government know that our other demands have not been met. I’m most concerned about having universal suffrage – that’s the root of all our problems.”

How the violence started is up for debate. South China Morning Post put the blame for the clashes on what they called “radical protesters” writing the group lobbed Molotov cocktails at police before they were struck with tear gas and rubber bullets. Hong Kong Free Press seemed to suggest the bombs and tear gas happened almost simultaneously. The truth may be somewhere in between.

What happened next isn’t debatable. Bricks and rubber bullets flew through the air as the pitched battle began between both sides. Police used water cannons and tear gas and HKFP reported some journalists ended up being struck by a tear gas canister. There are multiple reports one police water cannon truck was hit by a Molotov cocktail although no injuries were reported.

One curious thing is why pro-democracy demonstrators claim to be using petrol bombs. One person told RTHK they didn’t want to hurt officers but just keep them away from gatherings. “I don’t think they are trying to aim for the police or anyone, they just throw it in the stairs.” the 21-year-old claimed. “Give us some time to retreat or something.”

The night brought about more fights and arrests. Police took Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui into custody on claims he obstructed their operations. The crime? Telling officers to not abuse their power when they arrested a couple in black shirts walking in the streets. The female in the couple told officers she was just going home but police said she’d been yelling. Odd reasons for an arrest.

Journalists were also assaulted. SCMP reported two of their reporters were attacked by men wearing white. One female Apple Daily reporter suffered a hand injury when a white-clad man tried to take her phone. RTHK reported later the white-clad gang, for lack of a better term, went after anti-government demonstrators all while police watched and did nothing. A witness to a separate brawl claimed police broke up the fight but did not arrest any of the white-clad attackers.

The common refrain of observers of the Hong Kong situation is the island is headed towards destruction. George Will wrote in his syndicated column this weekend he believes China and the Hong Kong government made an error in judgment by not withdrawing the extradition bill immediately after the protests broke out. One Civic Party leader told Will some protesters carry their will in case the police kill them.

It would be too easy to blame the hardline protesters for not backing down with their demands. They seek five things: kill the extradition bill, drop all charges against protesters, classify the demonstrations as “protests,” not riots, look into possible police brutality, and universal suffrage. The extradition bill is dead, thankfully, while the other four demands aren’t necessarily untenable. Universal suffrage will take the longest to attain although it’s still a worthy goal for the future.

Hong Kong burns. It can still be saved if everyone is willing. However, that time may have already passed.

The post No end to Hong Kong violence appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK-300x172 No end to Hong Kong violence The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong democracy China   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil

Westlake Legal Group 11hklondon-facebookJumbo A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil Stocks and Bonds Refinitiv Ltd Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures London Stock Exchange London (England) Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Hong Kong Great Britain

LONDON — Stock exchanges are potent national symbols of capitalistic clout, and a surprise offer on Wednesday by Hong Kong’s exchange to acquire its London competitor is likely to set off a transcontinental tug of war.

If it came to fruition, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s unsolicited $36.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange would create a market juggernaut, pairing the pre-eminent exchanges in Europe and Asia and creating an emboldened rival to challenge the leading United States exchanges.

Hong Kong officials said on Wednesday that fusing the two exchanges would allow companies and investors to profit from a common platform for trading stocks and bonds that would be open 18 hours a day.

But the proposed deal comes at a time of wrenching economic, political and social turmoil in Britain and Hong Kong that is jeopardizing their standings as regional financial hubs.

In Hong Kong, China’s efforts to assert control over the semiautonomous territory have provoked weeks of angry protests. And in Britain, the government is in turmoil over plans to exit the European Union in a way that could deflate the economy.

The Hong Kong offer would require Britain to cede a corporate crown jewel — one whose roots trace back to 1571 — at a time when London’s centuries-long status as a leading financial capital is already in doubt because of Brexit.

Britain has been more open to investment from China and Hong Kong than other Western countries have. Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon, has invested in British infrastructure for years, and London has been slow to bend to Washington’s pressure not to use equipment from Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecom gear. But the Hong Kong protests have brought questions of Chinese influence to the fore.

The Chinese government is the largest shareholder of the Hong Kong exchange, with the right to name six of its 13 board members, and Beijing’s responses to the antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong are likely to lead British officials to closely scrutinize the deal for any signs of Chinese government influence. Britain’s business minister, Andrea Leadsom, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday that regulators would “look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the U.K.”

Previous foreign takeovers of British companies have been derailed or delayed on similar grounds, such as a proposed takeover last year of Northern Aerospace by a Chinese rival. The British government announced plans last year to significantly toughen its scrutiny of foreign takeovers, with a particular eye on those coming from China.

Hong Kong’s proposed takeover is the latest piece of a decade-long rush toward consolidation of stock exchanges around the world, as they try to fend off both upstart competitors and new technology that threatens traditional market exchanges with obsolescence.

Both the Hong Kong and the London exchanges have sought merger partners. They and others are crossing borders to better appeal to companies that no longer necessarily see one country as their home. American executives, for example, regularly travel to Asia to try to persuade fast-growing private companies to list their shares in the United States, rather than Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Stock exchanges have been transformed as a result. In the United States, both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market are now part of broader, more global companies.

The London Stock Exchange Group in particular has been the object of desire for other exchanges: Deutsche Börse and the Toronto Stock Exchange have both tried and failed at takeovers in the past decade.

Trying to bolster its standing as an independent company, the London exchange last month agreed to buy the data provider Refinitiv for $27 billion. That pending deal makes the Hong Kong bid even more of a long shot because it would make the London Stock Exchange bigger than its Asian rival.

The Hong Kong company’s takeover interest caught the management of the London Stock Exchange by surprise.

Executives at the two exchanges met on Monday in what British executives figured would be a casual discussion about the state of their industry, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the Hong Kong officials declared that they wanted to buy the London exchange for nearly $37 billion.

Less than 48 hours later, the Hong Kong company made its offer public, hoping to cause a swell of support for the deal from the London Stock Exchange’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the offer, the Hong Kong company would pay cash and stock worth about 8,361 pence per share as of Sept. 10’s stock prices, a 23 percent premium to where the London exchange’s company had been trading.

British takeover rules now say that the Hong Kong exchange has 28 days to either make a firm acquisition offer for the London Stock Exchange or walk away.

For now, it is unclear what will happen. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group rose 6.6 percent on Wednesday, to 7,254 pence. That remains below the Hong Kong exchange’s offer, suggesting skepticism from the London company’s shareholders that a deal will come to pass.

The London exchange said in a statement that it would consider the unsolicited offer from its Hong Kong counterpart but remained committed to completing its $27 billion deal to buy Refinitiv. That transaction would thrust the London exchange deeper into the business of selling and managing market data, a business that has grown in prominence and profitability for exchanges.

But proponents of the Hong Kong offer are likely to argue that becoming part of a European-Asian giant is a surer business bet than buying Refinitiv, which has long lagged Bloomberg L.P. in the market data industry.

Charles Li, the chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange’s parent company, said on a conference call with the media on Wednesday that the Refinitiv transaction helped push his company to hastily move forward with a bid. “We know we were late,” he said. “We don’t want to be late again.”

The offer comes at a politically turbulent time for both exchanges’ home bases. The British government remains paralyzed by questions about how the country should leave the European Union, while the business community remains in the dark about what Brexit would mean for London’s place on the business world stage.

At the same time, Hong Kong has been torn by mass demonstrations over what protesters see as a more assertive hand by Beijing in what is meant to be a semiautonomous region of China, operating under its own laws, which international businesses and investors find attractive compared with conditions on the mainland.

On Wednesday, Mr. Li rejected the idea that the Hong Kong exchange would want to loosen its ties to the mainland. He noted London’s ambition to become a global center for trading in the renminbi, the Chinese currency, and said the Hong Kong exchange could help fulfill that. Beijing heavily restricts the currency from crossing its borders, but some Chinese officials have openly discussed a day when the world might use the renminbi as commonly as it uses the American dollar, which would give China greater say in the global financial system. Should London become a hub for renminbi use, more Chinese companies and investors would consider the city an even more attractive place to do business.

Mr. Li dismissed concerns about a China-owned company buying a British icon. He noted that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has owned the London Metal Exchange for seven years, investing in the British platform and keeping it free from Chinese management.

“We are not a Chinese company, and we are not even a simple Hong Kong company,” Mr. Li said. “We are a global company.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil

Westlake Legal Group 11hklondon-facebookJumbo A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil Stocks and Bonds Refinitiv Ltd Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures London Stock Exchange London (England) Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Hong Kong Great Britain

LONDON — Stock exchanges are potent national symbols of capitalistic clout, and a surprise offer on Wednesday by Hong Kong’s exchange to acquire its London competitor is likely to set off a transcontinental tug of war.

If it came to fruition, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s unsolicited $36.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange would create a market juggernaut, pairing the pre-eminent exchanges in Europe and Asia and creating an emboldened rival to challenge the leading United States exchanges.

Hong Kong officials said on Wednesday that fusing the two exchanges would allow companies and investors to profit from a common platform for trading stocks and bonds that would be open 18 hours a day.

But the proposed deal comes at a time of wrenching economic, political and social turmoil in Britain and Hong Kong that is jeopardizing their standings as regional financial hubs.

In Hong Kong, China’s efforts to assert control over the semiautonomous territory have provoked weeks of angry protests. And in Britain, the government is in turmoil over plans to exit the European Union in a way that could deflate the economy.

The Hong Kong offer would require Britain to cede a corporate crown jewel — one whose roots trace back to 1571 — at a time when London’s centuries-long status as a leading financial capital is already in doubt because of Brexit.

Britain has been more open to investment from China and Hong Kong than other Western countries have. Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon, has invested in British infrastructure for years, and London has been slow to bend to Washington’s pressure not to use equipment from Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecom gear. But the Hong Kong protests have brought questions of Chinese influence to the fore.

The Chinese government is the largest shareholder of the Hong Kong exchange, with the right to name six of its 13 board members, and Beijing’s responses to the antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong are likely to lead British officials to closely scrutinize the deal for any signs of Chinese government influence. Britain’s business minister, Andrea Leadsom, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday that regulators would “look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the U.K.”

Previous foreign takeovers of British companies have been derailed or delayed on similar grounds, such as a proposed takeover last year of Northern Aerospace by a Chinese rival. The British government announced plans last year to significantly toughen its scrutiny of foreign takeovers, with a particular eye on those coming from China.

Hong Kong’s proposed takeover is the latest piece of a decade-long rush toward consolidation of stock exchanges around the world, as they try to fend off both upstart competitors and new technology that threatens traditional market exchanges with obsolescence.

Both the Hong Kong and the London exchanges have sought merger partners. They and others are crossing borders to better appeal to companies that no longer necessarily see one country as their home. American executives, for example, regularly travel to Asia to try to persuade fast-growing private companies to list their shares in the United States, rather than Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Stock exchanges have been transformed as a result. In the United States, both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market are now part of broader, more global companies.

The London Stock Exchange Group in particular has been the object of desire for other exchanges: Deutsche Börse and the Toronto Stock Exchange have both tried and failed at takeovers in the past decade.

Trying to bolster its standing as an independent company, the London exchange last month agreed to buy the data provider Refinitiv for $27 billion. That pending deal makes the Hong Kong bid even more of a long shot because it would make the London Stock Exchange bigger than its Asian rival.

The Hong Kong company’s takeover interest caught the management of the London Stock Exchange by surprise.

Executives at the two exchanges met on Monday in what British executives figured would be a casual discussion about the state of their industry, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the Hong Kong officials declared that they wanted to buy the London exchange for nearly $37 billion.

Less than 48 hours later, the Hong Kong company made its offer public, hoping to cause a swell of support for the deal from the London Stock Exchange’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the offer, the Hong Kong company would pay cash and stock worth about 8,361 pence per share as of Sept. 10’s stock prices, a 23 percent premium to where the London exchange’s company had been trading.

British takeover rules now say that the Hong Kong exchange has 28 days to either make a firm acquisition offer for the London Stock Exchange or walk away.

For now, it is unclear what will happen. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group rose 6.6 percent on Wednesday, to 7,254 pence. That remains below the Hong Kong exchange’s offer, suggesting skepticism from the London company’s shareholders that a deal will come to pass.

The London exchange said in a statement that it would consider the unsolicited offer from its Hong Kong counterpart but remained committed to completing its $27 billion deal to buy Refinitiv. That transaction would thrust the London exchange deeper into the business of selling and managing market data, a business that has grown in prominence and profitability for exchanges.

But proponents of the Hong Kong offer are likely to argue that becoming part of a European-Asian giant is a surer business bet than buying Refinitiv, which has long lagged Bloomberg L.P. in the market data industry.

Charles Li, the chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange’s parent company, said on a conference call with the media on Wednesday that the Refinitiv transaction helped push his company to hastily move forward with a bid. “We know we were late,” he said. “We don’t want to be late again.”

The offer comes at a politically turbulent time for both exchanges’ home bases. The British government remains paralyzed by questions about how the country should leave the European Union, while the business community remains in the dark about what Brexit would mean for London’s place on the business world stage.

At the same time, Hong Kong has been torn by mass demonstrations over what protesters see as a more assertive hand by Beijing in what is meant to be a semiautonomous region of China, operating under its own laws, which international businesses and investors find attractive compared with conditions on the mainland.

On Wednesday, Mr. Li rejected the idea that the Hong Kong exchange would want to loosen its ties to the mainland. He noted London’s ambition to become a global center for trading in the renminbi, the Chinese currency, and said the Hong Kong exchange could help fulfill that. Beijing heavily restricts the currency from crossing its borders, but some Chinese officials have openly discussed a day when the world might use the renminbi as commonly as it uses the American dollar, which would give China greater say in the global financial system. Should London become a hub for renminbi use, more Chinese companies and investors would consider the city an even more attractive place to do business.

Mr. Li dismissed concerns about a China-owned company buying a British icon. He noted that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has owned the London Metal Exchange for seven years, investing in the British platform and keeping it free from Chinese management.

“We are not a Chinese company, and we are not even a simple Hong Kong company,” Mr. Li said. “We are a global company.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil

Westlake Legal Group 11hklondon-facebookJumbo A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil Stocks and Bonds Refinitiv Ltd Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures London Stock Exchange London (England) Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Hong Kong Great Britain

LONDON — Stock exchanges are potent national symbols of capitalistic clout, and a surprise offer on Wednesday by Hong Kong’s exchange to acquire its London competitor is likely to set off a transcontinental tug of war.

If it came to fruition, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s unsolicited $36.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange would create a market juggernaut, pairing the pre-eminent exchanges in Europe and Asia and creating an emboldened rival to challenge the leading United States exchanges.

Hong Kong officials said on Wednesday that fusing the two exchanges would allow companies and investors to profit from a common platform for trading stocks and bonds that would be open 18 hours a day.

But the proposed deal comes at a time of wrenching economic, political and social turmoil in Britain and Hong Kong that is jeopardizing their standings as regional financial hubs.

In Hong Kong, China’s efforts to assert control over the semiautonomous territory have provoked weeks of angry protests. And in Britain, the government is in turmoil over plans to exit the European Union in a way that could deflate the economy.

The Hong Kong offer would require Britain to cede a corporate crown jewel — one whose roots trace back to 1571 — at a time when London’s centuries-long status as a leading financial capital is already in doubt because of Brexit.

Britain has been more open to investment from China and Hong Kong than other Western countries have. Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon, has invested in British infrastructure for years, and London has been slow to bend to Washington’s pressure not to use equipment from Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecom gear. But the Hong Kong protests have brought questions of Chinese influence to the fore.

The Chinese government is the largest shareholder of the Hong Kong exchange, with the right to name six of its 13 board members, and Beijing’s responses to the antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong are likely to lead British officials to closely scrutinize the deal for any signs of Chinese government influence. Britain’s business minister, Andrea Leadsom, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday that regulators would “look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the U.K.”

Previous foreign takeovers of British companies have been derailed or delayed on similar grounds, such as a proposed takeover last year of Northern Aerospace by a Chinese rival. The British government announced plans last year to significantly toughen its scrutiny of foreign takeovers, with a particular eye on those coming from China.

Hong Kong’s proposed takeover is the latest piece of a decade-long rush toward consolidation of stock exchanges around the world, as they try to fend off both upstart competitors and new technology that threatens traditional market exchanges with obsolescence.

Both the Hong Kong and the London exchanges have sought merger partners. They and others are crossing borders to better appeal to companies that no longer necessarily see one country as their home. American executives, for example, regularly travel to Asia to try to persuade fast-growing private companies to list their shares in the United States, rather than Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Stock exchanges have been transformed as a result. In the United States, both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market are now part of broader, more global companies.

The London Stock Exchange Group in particular has been the object of desire for other exchanges: Deutsche Börse and the Toronto Stock Exchange have both tried and failed at takeovers in the past decade.

Trying to bolster its standing as an independent company, the London exchange last month agreed to buy the data provider Refinitiv for $27 billion. That pending deal makes the Hong Kong bid even more of a long shot because it would make the London Stock Exchange bigger than its Asian rival.

The Hong Kong company’s takeover interest caught the management of the London Stock Exchange by surprise.

Executives at the two exchanges met on Monday in what British executives figured would be a casual discussion about the state of their industry, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the Hong Kong officials declared that they wanted to buy the London exchange for nearly $37 billion.

Less than 48 hours later, the Hong Kong company made its offer public, hoping to cause a swell of support for the deal from the London Stock Exchange’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the offer, the Hong Kong company would pay cash and stock worth about 8,361 pence per share as of Sept. 10’s stock prices, a 23 percent premium to where the London exchange’s company had been trading.

British takeover rules now say that the Hong Kong exchange has 28 days to either make a firm acquisition offer for the London Stock Exchange or walk away.

For now, it is unclear what will happen. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group rose 6.6 percent on Wednesday, to 7,254 pence. That remains below the Hong Kong exchange’s offer, suggesting skepticism from the London company’s shareholders that a deal will come to pass.

The London exchange said in a statement that it would consider the unsolicited offer from its Hong Kong counterpart but remained committed to completing its $27 billion deal to buy Refinitiv. That transaction would thrust the London exchange deeper into the business of selling and managing market data, a business that has grown in prominence and profitability for exchanges.

But proponents of the Hong Kong offer are likely to argue that becoming part of a European-Asian giant is a surer business bet than buying Refinitiv, which has long lagged Bloomberg L.P. in the market data industry.

Charles Li, the chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange’s parent company, said on a conference call with the media on Wednesday that the Refinitiv transaction helped push his company to hastily move forward with a bid. “We know we were late,” he said. “We don’t want to be late again.”

The offer comes at a politically turbulent time for both exchanges’ home bases. The British government remains paralyzed by questions about how the country should leave the European Union, while the business community remains in the dark about what Brexit would mean for London’s place on the business world stage.

At the same time, Hong Kong has been torn by mass demonstrations over what protesters see as a more assertive hand by Beijing in what is meant to be a semiautonomous region of China, operating under its own laws, which international businesses and investors find attractive compared with conditions on the mainland.

On Wednesday, Mr. Li rejected the idea that the Hong Kong exchange would want to loosen its ties to the mainland. He noted London’s ambition to become a global center for trading in the renminbi, the Chinese currency, and said the Hong Kong exchange could help fulfill that. Beijing heavily restricts the currency from crossing its borders, but some Chinese officials have openly discussed a day when the world might use the renminbi as commonly as it uses the American dollar, which would give China greater say in the global financial system. Should London become a hub for renminbi use, more Chinese companies and investors would consider the city an even more attractive place to do business.

Mr. Li dismissed concerns about a China-owned company buying a British icon. He noted that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has owned the London Metal Exchange for seven years, investing in the British platform and keeping it free from Chinese management.

“We are not a Chinese company, and we are not even a simple Hong Kong company,” Mr. Li said. “We are a global company.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil

Westlake Legal Group 11hklondon-facebookJumbo A Hong Kong-London Stock Exchange Bid Ties 2 Cities in Turmoil Stocks and Bonds Refinitiv Ltd Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures London Stock Exchange London (England) Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Hong Kong Great Britain

LONDON — Stock exchanges are potent national symbols of capitalistic clout, and a surprise offer on Wednesday by Hong Kong’s exchange to acquire its London competitor is likely to set off a transcontinental tug of war.

If it came to fruition, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s unsolicited $36.6 billion bid for the London Stock Exchange would create a market juggernaut, pairing the pre-eminent exchanges in Europe and Asia and creating an emboldened rival to challenge the leading United States exchanges.

Hong Kong officials said on Wednesday that fusing the two exchanges would allow companies and investors to profit from a common platform for trading stocks and bonds that would be open 18 hours a day.

But the proposed deal comes at a time of wrenching economic, political and social turmoil in Britain and Hong Kong that is jeopardizing their standings as regional financial hubs.

In Hong Kong, China’s efforts to assert control over the semiautonomous territory have provoked weeks of angry protests. And in Britain, the government is in turmoil over plans to exit the European Union in a way that could deflate the economy.

The Hong Kong offer would require Britain to cede a corporate crown jewel — one whose roots trace back to 1571 — at a time when London’s centuries-long status as a leading financial capital is already in doubt because of Brexit.

Britain has been more open to investment from China and Hong Kong than other Western countries have. Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon, has invested in British infrastructure for years, and London has been slow to bend to Washington’s pressure not to use equipment from Huawei, the Chinese maker of telecom gear. But the Hong Kong protests have brought questions of Chinese influence to the fore.

The Chinese government is the largest shareholder of the Hong Kong exchange, with the right to name six of its 13 board members, and Beijing’s responses to the antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong are likely to lead British officials to closely scrutinize the deal for any signs of Chinese government influence. Britain’s business minister, Andrea Leadsom, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Wednesday that regulators would “look very carefully at anything that had security implications for the U.K.”

Previous foreign takeovers of British companies have been derailed or delayed on similar grounds, such as a proposed takeover last year of Northern Aerospace by a Chinese rival. The British government announced plans last year to significantly toughen its scrutiny of foreign takeovers, with a particular eye on those coming from China.

Hong Kong’s proposed takeover is the latest piece of a decade-long rush toward consolidation of stock exchanges around the world, as they try to fend off both upstart competitors and new technology that threatens traditional market exchanges with obsolescence.

Both the Hong Kong and the London exchanges have sought merger partners. They and others are crossing borders to better appeal to companies that no longer necessarily see one country as their home. American executives, for example, regularly travel to Asia to try to persuade fast-growing private companies to list their shares in the United States, rather than Hong Kong or Tokyo.

Stock exchanges have been transformed as a result. In the United States, both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market are now part of broader, more global companies.

The London Stock Exchange Group in particular has been the object of desire for other exchanges: Deutsche Börse and the Toronto Stock Exchange have both tried and failed at takeovers in the past decade.

Trying to bolster its standing as an independent company, the London exchange last month agreed to buy the data provider Refinitiv for $27 billion. That pending deal makes the Hong Kong bid even more of a long shot because it would make the London Stock Exchange bigger than its Asian rival.

The Hong Kong company’s takeover interest caught the management of the London Stock Exchange by surprise.

Executives at the two exchanges met on Monday in what British executives figured would be a casual discussion about the state of their industry, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Instead, the Hong Kong officials declared that they wanted to buy the London exchange for nearly $37 billion.

Less than 48 hours later, the Hong Kong company made its offer public, hoping to cause a swell of support for the deal from the London Stock Exchange’s shareholders.

Under the terms of the offer, the Hong Kong company would pay cash and stock worth about 8,361 pence per share as of Sept. 10’s stock prices, a 23 percent premium to where the London exchange’s company had been trading.

British takeover rules now say that the Hong Kong exchange has 28 days to either make a firm acquisition offer for the London Stock Exchange or walk away.

For now, it is unclear what will happen. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group rose 6.6 percent on Wednesday, to 7,254 pence. That remains below the Hong Kong exchange’s offer, suggesting skepticism from the London company’s shareholders that a deal will come to pass.

The London exchange said in a statement that it would consider the unsolicited offer from its Hong Kong counterpart but remained committed to completing its $27 billion deal to buy Refinitiv. That transaction would thrust the London exchange deeper into the business of selling and managing market data, a business that has grown in prominence and profitability for exchanges.

But proponents of the Hong Kong offer are likely to argue that becoming part of a European-Asian giant is a surer business bet than buying Refinitiv, which has long lagged Bloomberg L.P. in the market data industry.

Charles Li, the chief executive of the Hong Kong exchange’s parent company, said on a conference call with the media on Wednesday that the Refinitiv transaction helped push his company to hastily move forward with a bid. “We know we were late,” he said. “We don’t want to be late again.”

The offer comes at a politically turbulent time for both exchanges’ home bases. The British government remains paralyzed by questions about how the country should leave the European Union, while the business community remains in the dark about what Brexit would mean for London’s place on the business world stage.

At the same time, Hong Kong has been torn by mass demonstrations over what protesters see as a more assertive hand by Beijing in what is meant to be a semiautonomous region of China, operating under its own laws, which international businesses and investors find attractive compared with conditions on the mainland.

On Wednesday, Mr. Li rejected the idea that the Hong Kong exchange would want to loosen its ties to the mainland. He noted London’s ambition to become a global center for trading in the renminbi, the Chinese currency, and said the Hong Kong exchange could help fulfill that. Beijing heavily restricts the currency from crossing its borders, but some Chinese officials have openly discussed a day when the world might use the renminbi as commonly as it uses the American dollar, which would give China greater say in the global financial system. Should London become a hub for renminbi use, more Chinese companies and investors would consider the city an even more attractive place to do business.

Mr. Li dismissed concerns about a China-owned company buying a British icon. He noted that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing has owned the London Metal Exchange for seven years, investing in the British platform and keeping it free from Chinese management.

“We are not a Chinese company, and we are not even a simple Hong Kong company,” Mr. Li said. “We are a global company.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Big Brother’ in the Sky: Cathay Pacific Workers Feel China’s Pressure

HONG KONG — Mixe Lee’s bosses showed him two Facebook posts. One criticized police for how they handled the antigovernment demonstrations that have rocked the city of Hong Kong since June. Their question for Mr. Lee, a Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendant: Did he write them?

Mr. Lee denied it, though he had. Then on Thursday, a week after the interrogation, he joined the ranks of those fired by Cathay Pacific after expressing political views that could anger the Chinese government.

“I had never thought that the company would pick on my political orientation,” said Mr. Lee, a 30-year-old flight attendant who had worked at the carrier’s Cathay Dragon regional airline for three and a half years.

Cathay Pacific is fighting for its survival, and its employees risk becoming collateral damage. The Hong Kong-based airline is perhaps the most vulnerable of the global businesses caught between the city’s pro-democracy protesters and a Chinese government that has labeled them violent radicals. China wants the business world to take its side, and it is threatening to withhold access to its big and growing market from companies that don’t.

Beijing has threatened to close off Chinese airspace to Cathay unless it contains its employees. But many of Cathay’s 26,000 Hong Kong-based employees sympathize with the protesters.

The result is what many in Cathay call “the white terror,” a name that harkens back to Taiwan’s bloody anti-Communist crackdown in past decades. Nearly two dozen current and former employees described an atmosphere of fear. Many are deactivating their social media accounts, or changing the photos on their profiles so that their managers won’t recognize them.

“You can feel the distance between colleagues,” said Jack Tung, a 32-year-old Cathay Pacific purser who also serves as a first aid provider during Hong Kong’s protests. “I can’t trust those whom I don’t know because I’m not sure whether they would report me to management. It’s like a ‘the Big Brother is watching you’ scenario, especially when you are in the air.”

Those who fly to China say they face even more scrutiny from Chinese air officials, who comb planes after they land for foreign publications that cover the protests and put employees through onerous screening.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_145808184_40f0c2e7-40a0-4c97-9899-f398df355e8b-articleLarge ‘Big Brother’ in the Sky: Cathay Pacific Workers Feel China’s Pressure Swire Pacific Limited Social Media Politics and Government Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Flight Attendants Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China Cathay Pacific Airways Airlines and Airplanes

Cathay Pacific staff at the Hong Kong International Airport.CreditAlex Hofford/Epa-Efe, via Rex

It is not clear how many employees have been fired or suspended. Cathay Pacific did not respond to several requests for comment. In previous statements, it has condemned violent protests, expressed support for Hong Kong’s government and police force, and said it has no choice but to comply with Chinese safety directives.

“We have been Hong Kong’s home carrier for many decades,” a recent statement said. “This is our home. We have grown with this great city and are committed to remaining at the heart of its future growth and success.”

On Wednesday, citing a drop in August traffic, Cathay said it would trim its growth plans. The problems could continue. While city leaders have canceled a bill that would have allowed extraditions of criminal suspects to the mainland, a catalyst for the protests, they have continued over other problems.

Hong Kong’s protests and Beijing’s growing willingness to intercede in the city’s affairs could profoundly change how people work and do business in the Asian financial capital. Cathay, for example, is controlled by Swire Pacific, one of a handful of conglomerates that can trace their history to Hong Kong’s early British colonial era, and have long been dominated by non-Chinese executives. Because it depends so much on business in China, it faces growing pressure to show its loyalty.

“If they want to gain better access to the Chinese market to do business better and easier, foreign companies want to satisfy the nationalistic preferences to the extent they can,” said Zhiwu Chen, a professor of economics at the University of Hong Kong. “Given that background, native Chinese executives are more likely to develop better personal connections on the mainland, either with officials or with other business executives.”

Last month, as Beijing piled pressure on the airline, the company named Augustus Tang, a 60-year-old longtime Cathay and Swire employee, as its new chief executive, replacing Rupert Hogg, the British-born executive who led the company for only two years.

Cathay also sent a strong message to employees that public support for the protests would not be tolerated. Managers recirculated company guidelines that call for workers to blow the whistle on each other. It fired a pilot who had been arrested during a protest and fired two staffers who were accused of leaking the personal travel details of Hong Kong police officers who were traveling to the mainland for a soccer event, a disclosure that angered Chinese media amid doxxing accusations on both sides.

Tensions worsened in recent days after three flights originating in Hong Kong were found to be carrying depleted oxygen bottles, which would be used by cabin crews if a plane were to depressurize, raising questions in local news media over whether sabotage was the cause. Cathay said it had suspended the cabin crews involved and was investigating the incidents.

Flight attendants demanding a pay raise protested at the departure hall of the Hong Kong Airport in 2011.CreditBobby Yip/Reuters

Cathay has not always had smooth relations with its employees. In 2012 and 2015 it narrowly avoided strikes by flight attendants over pay, and just last year it said it would abandon a widely loathed skirts-only policy for female cabin crew members.

But current and former employees describe what had once been a more open and collegial workplace. Employees were encouraged to admit mistakes with minimal fear of retribution so they could discuss ways to improve their performance. Flight crews openly discussed politics and other sensitive issues.

“The company used to teach us about teamwork,” said Katherine Sin, a 36-year-old flight attendant for nine years. “Our motto was ‘People. They make an airline.’ But now everyone is stabbing other people in the back.”

Ms. Sin said Cathay managers called her into their offices at Cathay City, the company’s glassy complex near Hong Kong’s airport, two weeks after Mr. Hogg’s resignation. They showed her screenshots of her Facebook and Instagram accounts criticizing the police, including one that said, “If at this point you still support the government and the police, I don’t think you can call yourself a human.” All the posts were made before Mr. Hogg resigned, she said.

Ms. Sin denied the accounts were hers, though they were. She believed that she would be immediately fired if she admitted to them, she said, and that she had not violated company policy. She was fired on Thursday.

“I dedicated myself to the company,” Ms. Sin said. “I loved my company. I used to say proudly to other people that I was a stewardess from Cathay Pacific. But now I can’t say that anymore. I’m too heartbroken.”

Employees have also been questioned about what they wrote more privately.

Joi Lam, a 36-year-old flight purser at Cathay Pacific for 12 years, said she was summoned to an urgent management meeting on Aug. 30. Managers showed her two screenshots from a private WhatsApp group she had created for colleagues who were also mothers, in which she suggested buying helmets, face masks, food and other supplies for the protesters.

Like the other employees interviewed by The New York Times, she initially denied the posts were hers. She was later fired.

“I feel I was just an employee reference number to the company,” said Ms. Lam, who believes another employee in the WhatsApp group showed her posts to management. “They can delete whoever they want from the system without hesitation.”

Flight crews who travel to China face even more scrutiny from local regulators, said several employees, though they noted that the attention had eased in recent days. Some workers described longer-than-normal flight delays at Chinese airports and regulators searching cabins for periodicals that cover the protests. Others have had to go through searches by security officials, even for those who had to fly out again.

Several Cathay employees asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal. Many employees said they would have a difficult time finding similar jobs elsewhere. Departing workers would have to take their chances with a foreign airline, a regional airline or one of China’s state-run carriers.

Mr. Tung, the purser, did not ask for anonymity. He said he expects to be fired for talking publicly about Cathay’s problems. The risk, he said, is worth it.

“I hope that by making public what’s happening to the company, I can protect my colleagues,” Mr. Tung said. “If I don’t have the right to talk freely, then what use is this job?”

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‘Big Brother’ in the Sky: Cathay Pacific Staff Feel China’s Pressure

HONG KONG — Mixe Lee’s bosses showed him two Facebook posts. One criticized police for how they handled the antigovernment demonstrations that have rocked the city of Hong Kong since June. Their question for Mr. Lee, a Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendant: Did he write them?

Mr. Lee denied it, though he had. Then on Thursday, a week after the interrogation, he joined the ranks of those fired by Cathay Pacific after expressing political views that could anger the Chinese government.

“I had never thought that the company would pick on my political orientation,” said Mr. Lee, a 30-year-old flight attendant who had worked at the carrier’s Cathay Dragon regional airline for three and a half years.

Cathay Pacific is fighting for its survival, and its employees risk becoming collateral damage. The Hong Kong-based airline is perhaps the most vulnerable of the global businesses caught between the city’s pro-democracy protesters and a Chinese government that has labeled them violent radicals. China wants the business world to take its side, and it is threatening to withhold access to its big and growing market from companies that don’t.

Beijing has threatened to close off Chinese airspace to Cathay unless it contains its employees. But many of Cathay’s 26,000 Hong Kong-based employees sympathize with the protesters.

The result is what many in Cathay call “the white terror,” a name that harkens back to Taiwan’s bloody anti-Communist crackdown in past decades. Nearly two dozen current and former employees described an atmosphere of fear. Many are deactivating their social media accounts, or changing the photos on their profiles so that their managers won’t recognize them.

“You can feel the distance between colleagues,” said Jack Tung, a 32-year-old Cathay Pacific purser who also serves as a first aid provider during Hong Kong’s protests. “I can’t trust those whom I don’t know because I’m not sure whether they would report me to management. It’s like a ‘the Big Brother is watching you’ scenario, especially when you are in the air.”

Those who fly to China say they face even more scrutiny from Chinese air officials, who comb planes after they land for foreign publications that cover the protests and put employees through onerous screening.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_145808184_40f0c2e7-40a0-4c97-9899-f398df355e8b-articleLarge ‘Big Brother’ in the Sky: Cathay Pacific Staff Feel China’s Pressure Swire Pacific Limited Social Media Politics and Government Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Flight Attendants Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China Cathay Pacific Airways Airlines and Airplanes

Cathay Pacific staff at the Hong Kong International Airport.CreditAlex Hofford/Epa-Efe, via Rex

It is not clear how many employees have been fired or suspended. Cathay Pacific did not respond to several requests for comment. In previous statements, it has condemned violent protests, expressed support for Hong Kong’s government and police force, and said it has no choice but to comply with Chinese safety directives.

“We have been Hong Kong’s home carrier for many decades,” a recent statement said. “This is our home. We have grown with this great city and are committed to remaining at the heart of its future growth and success.”

On Wednesday, citing a drop in August traffic, Cathay said it would trim its growth plans.

Hong Kong’s protests and Beijing’s growing willingness to intercede in the city’s affairs could profoundly change how people work and do business in the Asian financial capital. Cathay, for example, is controlled by Swire Pacific, one of a handful of conglomerates that can trace their history to Hong Kong’s early British colonial era, and have long been dominated by non-Chinese executives. Because it depends so much on business in China, it faces growing pressure to show its loyalty.

“If they want to gain better access to the Chinese market to do business better and easier, foreign companies want to satisfy the nationalistic preferences to the extent they can,” said Zhiwu Chen, a professor of economics at the University of Hong Kong. “Given that background, native Chinese executives are more likely to develop better personal connections on the mainland, either with officials or with other business executives.”

Last month, as Beijing piled pressure on the airline, the company named Augustus Tang, a 60-year-old longtime Cathay and Swire employee, as its new chief executive, replacing Rupert Hogg, the British-born executive who led the company for only two years.

Cathay also sent a strong message to employees that public support for the protests would not be tolerated. Managers recirculated company guidelines that call for workers to blow the whistle on each other. It fired a pilot who had been arrested during a protest and fired two staffers who were accused of leaking the personal travel details of Hong Kong police officers who were traveling to the mainland for a soccer event, a disclosure that angered Chinese media amid doxxing accusations on both sides.

Tensions worsened in recent days after three flights originating in Hong Kong were found to be carrying depleted oxygen bottles, which would be used by cabin crews if a plane were to depressurize, raising questions in local news media over whether sabotage was the cause. Cathay said it had suspended the cabin crews involved and was investigating the incidents.

Flight attendants demanding a pay raise protested at the departure hall of the Hong Kong Airport in 2011.CreditBobby Yip/Reuters

Cathay has not always had smooth relations with its employees. In 2012 and 2015 it narrowly avoided strikes by flight attendants over pay, and just last year it said it would abandon a widely loathed skirts-only policy for female cabin crew members.

But current and former employees describe what had once been a more open and collegial workplace. Employees were encouraged to admit mistakes with minimal fear of retribution so they could discuss ways to improve their performance. Flight crews openly discussed politics and other sensitive issues.

“The company used to teach us about teamwork,” said Katherine Sin, a 36-year-old flight attendant for nine years. “Our motto was ‘People. They make an airline.’ But now everyone is stabbing other people in the back.”

Ms. Sin said Cathay managers called her into their offices at Cathay City, the company’s glassy complex near Hong Kong’s airport, two weeks after Mr. Hogg’s resignation. They showed her screenshots of her Facebook and Instagram accounts criticizing the police, including one that said, “If at this point you still support the government and the police, I don’t think you can call yourself a human.” All the posts were made before Mr. Hogg resigned, she said.

Ms. Sin denied the accounts were hers, though they were. She believed that she would be immediately fired if she admitted to them, she said, and that she had not violated company policy. She was fired on Thursday.

“I dedicated myself to the company,” Ms. Sin said. “I loved my company. I used to say proudly to other people that I was a stewardess from Cathay Pacific. But now I can’t say that anymore. I’m too heartbroken.”

Employees have also been questioned about what they wrote more privately.

Joi Lam, a 36-year-old flight purser at Cathay Pacific for 12 years, said she was summoned to an urgent management meeting on Aug. 30. Managers showed her two screenshots from a private WhatsApp group she had created for colleagues who were also mothers, in which she suggested buying helmets, face masks, food and other supplies for the protesters.

Like the other employees interviewed by The New York Times, she initially denied the posts were hers. She was later fired.

“I feel I was just an employee reference number to the company,” said Ms. Lam, who believes another employee in the WhatsApp group showed her posts to management. “They can delete whoever they want from the system without hesitation.”

Flight crews who travel to China face even more scrutiny from local regulators, said several employees, though they noted that the attention had eased in recent days. Some workers described longer-than-normal flight delays at Chinese airports and regulators searching cabins for periodicals that cover the protests. Others have had to go through searches by security officials, even for those who had to fly out again.

Several Cathay employees asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal. Many employees said they would have a difficult time finding similar jobs elsewhere. Departing workers would have to take their chances with a foreign airline, a regional airline or one of China’s state-run carriers.

Mr. Tung, the purser, did not ask for anonymity. He said he expects to be fired for talking publicly about Cathay’s problems. The risk, he said, is worth it.

“I hope that by making public what’s happening to the company, I can protect my colleagues,” Mr. Tung said. “If I don’t have the right to talk freely, then what use is this job?”

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Hong Kong Stock Exchange Offers to Buy Its London Counterpart

Westlake Legal Group 11hklondon-facebookJumbo Hong Kong Stock Exchange Offers to Buy Its London Counterpart Stocks and Bonds Refinitiv Ltd Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures London Stock Exchange London (England) Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd Hong Kong Great Britain

Hong Kong’s stock exchange operator said on Wednesday that it was offering to purchase the parent company of the London Stock Exchange in a deal that, if completed, would value the British company at nearly $37 billion.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited said in a news release that a combination with the London Stock Exchange Group would result in a financial markets company “connecting the established financial markets in the West with the emerging financial markets in the East, particularly in China.” It also said that combining trading platforms would reduce costs.

Shares of the London Stock Exchange Group jumped more than 14 percent in early trading on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the London Stock Exchange said the company did not have an immediate comment.

Hong Kong Exchanges said its offer included both cash and stock valued at more than one-fifth higher than the London Stock Exchange’s trading value as of Tuesday. A deal would be subject to a number of conditions, Hong Kong Exchanges said, including completion of the London company’s deal to acquire Refinitiv, a provider of financial data.

The offer follows a wave of mergers among big stock exchange operators over more than a decade, as they seek to build up more sophisticated trading platforms to compete with the rise of electronic exchanges.

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Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong United States The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong China #liberateHK

A glimmer of hope emerged in Hong Kong last week after the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill by Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Demonstrations have been ongoing since June when protestors took to the streets in opposition to the bill, which they claim erodes the legal system. As of now, it appears the withdrawal of the bill has done nothing to placate demonstrators.

Another round of violence between protesters and police broke out on Sunday night which ended with a volunteer aid worker shot by police with a bean bag round or rubber bullet. Riot officers lobbed multiple tear gas canisters at demonstrators gathered near a department store. One reporter was injured when a Hong Kong police officer almost casually tossed a tear gas bomb. Video does not show any protesters standing near officers.

It all started with a march urging the United States to get more involved in the Hong Kong-Beijing dispute. Demonstrators gathered near the US Consulate-General for a rally on the Hong Kong Human Rights Act currently in the U.S. Congress. The bill would allow sanctions on some political leaders in Hong Kong and China. The peaceful event featured American flags and calls for democracy in Hong Kong. Police decided to break up the rally early with RTHK blaming three protesters who pointed lasers at officers.

There are mixed feelings about the potential U.S. law in Hong Kong. Those who support U.S. involvement may be in the minority in the struggle for Hong Kong independence.

“As the United States becomes more vocal over the Hong Kong protests, we ought to remember that any change must come from within the city itself,” a student under the pseudonym ‘Malcolm Wong’ wrote in Hong Kong Free Press on Sunday. “In many ways, this does not need to be stated. The US flag-wavers do not represent the majority of Hongkongers who participate in the protests. Indeed, any substantive interview with any of the flag-bearers discloses the animosity they receive from fellow protesters. After all, how can they support self-determination if they are calling on a foreign power to help them determine their future?”

It should be pointed out ‘Wong’ is worried about what might happen if Hong Kong approves policies which go against U.S. interests.

“All these undeniably positive aspects of the bill, the very things that millions of Hong Kong protesters are fighting for, must be achieved by Hongkongers themselves,” ‘Wong’ explained while noting he supports almost everything within the Hong Kong Human Rights Act. “Currently, the views of US politicians and Hong Kong protesters may broadly align, but we cannot assume that will always be the case. The fact is a negative report to Congress could trigger a wide range of foreign policy options responding to the implementation of local Hong Kong laws that the US government does not agree with.”

South China Morning Post columnist Alex Lo was more explicit his condemnation of the legislation.

“Every year, Hong Kong will be put on the examination table by the Americans, who will effectively be the judge, jury and executioner – to decide on whether “one country two systems” stands or fails for the rest of the world,” Lo opined Sunday while also calling Civic Party leadership “useful idiots” for the United States. “Our Civic Party lawmakers respect the sovereignty of America whereas they denigrate their own country. In a letter to US politicians, they wrote: “The contents of the bill are of course entirely within the prerogative of [US] Congress.” To mess up Hong Kong?”

Lo’s position on the Hong Kong protests tends to fluctuate between peaceful protesters and the government. He has pushed for reform but wants it to come from Hongkongers, not the West.

Some believe the U.S. and the West should show a little more spine in the dispute between the Hong Kong government, China, and the protesters.

“Many Hong Kong people think that it is kind of international help that is very important because it help Hong Kong government be held accountable to the international community and the Chinese government too,” Johns Hopkins professor Ho-Fung Hung said in an interview on Matt Lewis and the News on FTR Radio this past week. “[T]he Chinese government cannot afford [to destroy] Hong Kong’s financial center status yet. So there’s some room that the international community can do to stand with Hong Kong people who want to seek freedom and democracy.”

The legislation could work but concerns about the current climate between the United States and China cannot be ignored. The United Kingdom is too busy with Brexit even though their treaty set up the “one nation, two systems” government in Hong Kong. Sanctions are not necessarily a wise measure. It might be best to support protesters in other ways including donations or diplomacy.

Hong Kong cannot be ignored. These are people standing up for freedom against totalitarianism. The solutions may not come from government but individuals doing what they can to help.

The post Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK-300x172 Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong United States The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong China #liberateHK   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Is Xi Mishandling Hong Kong Crisis? Hints of Unease in China’s Leadership

BEIJING — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, warned a gathering of senior Communist Party officials in January that the country faced a raft of urgent economic and political risks, and told them to be on guard especially for “indolence, incompetence and becoming divorced from the public.”

Now, after months of political tumult in Hong Kong, the warning seems prescient. Only it is Mr. Xi himself and his government facing criticism that they are mishandling China’s biggest political crisis in years, one that he did not mention in his catalog of looming risks at the start of the year.

And although few in Beijing would dare blame Mr. Xi openly for the government’s handling of the turmoil, there is quiet grumbling that his imperious style and authoritarian concentration of power contributed to the government’s misreading of the scope of discontent in Hong Kong, which is only growing.

On Friday night, the protests and clashes with the police continued in Hong Kong, even after the region’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, made a major concession days earlier by withdrawing a bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland, legislation which first incited the protests three months ago.

The Communist Party’s leadership — and very likely Mr. Xi himself — has been surprised by or oblivious to the depth of the animosity, which has driven hundreds of thousands into the streets of Hong Kong for the past three months. While it was the proposed extradition bill that sparked the protests, they are now sustained by broader grievances against the Chinese government and its efforts to impose greater control over the semiautonomous territory.

Beijing has been slow to adapt to events, allowing Ms. Lam to suspend the bill in June, for example, but refusing at the time to let her withdraw it completely. It was a partial concession that reflected the party’s hard-line instincts under Mr. Xi and fueled even larger protests.

As public anger in Hong Kong has climbed, the Chinese government’s response grew bombastic and now seems at times erratic.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160288134_3e966b73-03cb-4e1a-b813-305dcfaaca19-articleLarge Is Xi Mishandling Hong Kong Crisis? Hints of Unease in China’s Leadership Xi Jinping Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Communist Party of China China

Protesters in Hong Kong on Friday.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

In July, at a meeting that has not been publicly disclosed, Mr. Xi met with other senior officials to discuss the protests. The range of options discussed is unclear, but the leaders agreed that the central government should not intervene forcefully, at least for now, several people familiar with the issue said in interviews in Hong Kong and Beijing.

At that meeting, the officials concluded that the Hong Kong authorities and the local police could eventually restore order on their own, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

There are hints of divisions in the Chinese leadership and stirrings of discontent about Mr. Xi’s policies.

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and an expert on Chinese politics, said it appeared that there was debate during the annual informal leaders’ retreat in Beidaihe, a seaside resort not far from Beijing.

Some party leaders called for concessions, while others urged action to bring Hong Kong more directly under the mainland’s control, he said. Mr. Cabestan said he believed that “the Chinese leadership is divided on Hong Kong and how to solve the crisis.”

Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing, said Mr. Xi’s government had in effect adopted a strategy to procrastinate in the absence of any better ideas for resolving the crisis. “It is not willing to intervene directly or to propose a solution,” he said. “The idea is to wait things out until there is a change.”

The upshot is that instead of defusing or containing the crisis, Mr. Xi’s government has helped to widen the political chasm between the central government and many of the seven million residents in a city that is an important hub of international trade and finance, critics say.

Another sign of the disarray within the government was the reaction to Ms. Lam’s withdrawal of the bill. On Tuesday, officials in Beijing declared there could be no concessions to the protesters’ demands. A day later, when Ms. Lam pulled the bill back, she claimed to have Beijing’s blessing to do so. The same officials were silent.

Xi Jinping during a visit to Hong Kong in 2017, as the city commemorated the 20th anniversary of its handover to China from Britain.CreditPool photo by Dale De La Rey

On Friday, China’s premier, Li Keqiang, said during a news conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who was visiting China, that the government supported Hong Kong in “halting the violence and disorder in accordance with the law.”

Mr. Xi, who is 66 and in his seventh year of his now unlimited tenure as the country’s paramount leader, has cast himself as an essential commander for a challenging time. He has been lionized in state media like no other Chinese leader since Mao.

This has made political solutions to the Hong Kong situation harder to find, because even senior officials are reluctant to make the case for compromise or concessions for fear of contradicting or angering Mr. Xi, according to numerous officials and analysts in Hong Kong and Beijing.

“Beijing has overreached, overestimating its capacity to control events and underestimating the complexity of Hong Kong,” said Brian Fong Chi-hang, an associate professor at the Academy of Hong Kong Studies at the Education University of Hong Kong.

The tumult in Hong Kong could pose a risk to Mr. Xi, especially if it exacerbates discontent and discord within the Chinese leadership over other issues.

“I think the danger is not that his standing will collapse, but that there is a whole series of slowly unfolding trends that will gradually corrode his position,” said Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney and author of “Xi Jinping: The Backlash.”

“Hong Kong is one, as the protests look set to carry on despite the concessions,” Mr. McGregor said. “The trade war is adding to the pain,” he added, referring to the current standoff with the United States.

Mr. Xi returned on Tuesday to the same venue as his speech in January — the Communist Party’s Central Party School — and reprised the warnings he raised in January without suggesting they were in fact worsening.

A 2017 ceremony in Hong Kong marking the anniversary of the handover. Mr. Xi has not visited the city since.CreditHong Kong’s Information Services Department

“Faced with the grim conditions and tasks of struggle looming down on us, we must be tough-boned, daring to go on the attack and daring to battle for victory,” he said.

While he warned of “a whole range” of internal and external threats — economic, military and environmental — he mentioned Hong Kong only once, and then only in passing.

“By painting a dark picture of hostile foreign forces or even unrelenting internal challenges the Communist Party faces in retaining power, it helps justify his continuing strong hand,” said Christopher K. Johnson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Some analysts see a parallel between Mr. Xi’s handling of Hong Kong and the trade war with the United States, which, like the economy more broadly, seems to be the greatest worry for his government at the moment.

In Hong Kong, Mr. Xi’s government unwaveringly supported the extradition bill. And it stuck by that position, refusing to allow Mrs. Lam to withdraw it formally, even as the protesters’ demands grew broader. Her pledge to withdraw it now has been dismissed as too little, too late.

In the trade talks, China also balked at accepting President Trump’s initial demands for concessions. When the two sides came close to an agreement in the spring, outlined in an 150-page document, Mr. Xi appeared to balk, scuttling the process.

Now Mr. Xi faces an even bigger trade war, with much higher tariffs and greater tensions. The government appears to be hewing to a strategy of waiting out Mr. Trump, possibly through his 2020 re-election campaign, even as the dispute has become a drag on the economy.

It remains unclear how Mr. Xi’s government conveyed its approval for Mrs. Lam’s decision — or whether it did. Mrs. Lam’s sudden shift evolved in a matter of days after another weekend of clashes between protesters and the police, several officials said.

Hong Kong’s embattled chief executive, Carrie Lam, withdrew the bill that sparked the protests and said she had Beijing’s blessing to do so.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Mrs. Lam said the decision to withdraw the extradition was hers, but she also asserted that she had Beijing’s full support for doing so, suggesting more coordination than either side has publicly acknowledged.

The silence from officials and in state media about Mrs. Lam’s concession suggested that if Mr. Xi’s government did approve of the sudden shift, it wanted to stifle public discussion of it in the mainland.

Mrs. Lam herself described the tightrope she must walk during recent remarks to a group of business leaders that was subsequently leaked and published by Reuters.

“The political room for the chief executive who, unfortunately, has to serve two masters by constitution, that is, the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong, that political room for maneuvering is very, very, very limited,” she said.

She also offered a candid assessment of Beijing’s views, even if one she did not intend to make public. She said Beijing had no plan to send in the People’s Liberation Army to restore order because “they’re just quite scared now.”

“Because they know that the price would be too huge to pay,” she went on. “Maybe they don’t care about Hong Kong, but they care about ‘one country, two systems.’ They care about the country’s international profile. It has taken China a long time to build up to that sort of international profile.”

Hong Kong’s unique status, with its own laws and freedoms, has long created a political dilemma for China’s leaders, especially for Mr. Xi, who has made China’s rising economic and political might a central pillar of his public appeals.

China’s recovery of sovereignty over the former British colony is a matter of national pride that reversed a century and a half of colonial humiliation. But the mainland maintains what amounts to an international border with Hong Kong.

Chinese police vehicles last month in Shenzhen, the mainland Chinese city bordering Hong Kong.CreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

The government’s deepest fear now appears to be that the demands for greater political accountability and even universal suffrage heard on the streets in Hong Kong could spread like a contagion through the mainland. So far, there have been few signs of that.

As the crisis has grown, the government has dispatched thousands of troops from the People’s Armed Police to Shenzhen, the mainland city adjacent to Hong Kong, but the exercise was hastily organized and used an outdated plan drawn up after the protests in 2014, according to one official in Hong Kong.

Beijing also stepped up its propaganda, launching an information — and disinformation — campaign against the protesters and opposition leaders in Hong Kong.

Mr. Xi continues to barely mention Hong Kong. He has said nothing about the protests, even in his passing reference on Tuesday. He has not visited since 2017, when he marked the 20th anniversary of the handover from Britain.

After the traditional August holiday break, Mr. Xi’s public calendar of events has since betrayed no hint of political upheaval or threats to his standing. The media’s portrayal of him, already verging on hagiography, became even more fawning. State television and the party’s newspapers now refer to him as “The People’s Leader,” an honorific once bestowed only on Mao.

“The People’s Leader loves the people,” The People’s Daily wrote after Mr. Xi toured Gansu, a province in western China.

Mr. Xi’s calculation might be simply to remain patient, as he has been in the case of President Trump’s erratic shifts in the trade war. In his remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Xi also gave a possible hint of the government’s pragmatism.

“On matters of principle, not an inch will be yielded,” he said, “but on matters of tactics there can be flexibility.”

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