Hong Kong's Protesters Are Fighting for Their Economic Future

September 29, 2014 9:17 AM

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The conventional wisdom about Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests is that they are bad for business. Hong Kong has become one of the world’s three premier financial centers (with New York City and London) because the city has been a bastion of stability in an ever-changing region, the thinking goes, and therefore the tens of thousands of protesters who paralyzed downtown Hong Kong on Monday are a threat to its economic success. The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, used just such an argument to try to persuade the protesters to clear the streets. “These activists are jeopardizing the global image of Hong Kong, and presenting the world with the turbulent face of the city,” it said in an editorial on Monday.

That worry isn’t merely Beijing propaganda. Andrew Colquhoun, head of Asia-Pacific sovereign ratings at Fitch, said one of the big questions facing Hong Kong over the long term is “whether the political standoff eventually impacts domestic and foreign perceptions of Hong Kong’s stability and attract...

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