- The little people are hurting most in city protests that are already behind mental health crisis, brain drain and economic slump
The opposition and protest movements like to say they are trying to "restore Hong Kong to its former glory". But the facts on the ground actually say the opposite. It's hard to believe they are helping Hong Kong in any way, at the moment, except perhaps in a nebulous sense of fighting for a better future.
After almost three months of non-stop unrest with no end in sight, virtually all the social and economic indicators have turned negative.
A recent study by the University of Hong Kong's faculty of medicine finds that almost one in 10 people are suspected to be suffering from depression during the extradition bill crisis. Samaritan Befrienders, a suicide prevention group, reported that calls for help during the summer have been five times higher than what was received from March to May.
According to Paul Yip Siu-fai, chair professor in social work and social administration at HKU, a 24-hour online emotional support service he helps supervise received about 30 per cent more requests for emotional support during June and July. "The number of high-risk and crisis-level cases more than doubled," he wrote. The Hong Kong Red Cross' psychological support hotline reported similar increases.
Thanks to the unrest, emigration consultants are reporting big jumps in clients hoping to head to Australia, Canada and the United States, followed by Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.
More mainland professionals with postgraduate qualifications in the city say they want to go back to the mainland. Lest our anti-China localist radicals start cheering, that just means more mainlanders moving into the city who are older, less educated and unskilled.
Tourism, aviation and retail have all been hit hard in the past three months. Tourist arrivals are down 30 per cent, hotel prices have been slashed more than 50 per cent, and unemployment is on the rise. We may already be entering a recession. Reports of lay-offs from multiple industries are coming in.
Many eateries serving grass-roots clientele, precisely the people our young rebels claim to be fighting for, are experiencing the worst downturn.
It's a mystery why protesters keep targeting low-income districts, grass-roots neighbourhoods and mass transportation systems. They are hurting the little people and small businesses that are the most vulnerable.
A mental health crisis, a brain drain crisis, an economic crisis … Is this what our young rebels mean by liberating Hong Kong?
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