Hong Kong's weak leaders threaten business confidence

Questions are intensifying about the long-term impact of the protests on business confidence in Hong Kong but so far the administration does not appear to have any strategy to resolve the current crisis beyond simply hoping it all goes away.

As protests in Hong Kong move into their third week with no end in sight, citizens are getting used to a "new normal".

Longer commutes cause some grumbles, but Hong Kongers are also enjoying the new public open spaces and cleaner air, with office-workers strolling at lunchtime down car-free streets and picnicking on the traffic barriers.

Over the weekend a tent city sprang up at the main Admiralty protest site as thousands settled in for what became a weekend resembling nothing so much as an outdoor community arts festival. As well as the growing collection of protest art installations, crowds were entertained by musicians, dance performances, free portrait sketching, movie screenings and origami lessons. After weeks of exhorting participants that this protest was a serious matter and "not a carnival", student organisers on Sunday finally relented and published a program for the coming days' activities, including guest speakers and a live band.

Carpenters have been helping to build increasingly sophisticated staircases over the cement road barriers, as well as rows of desks for the now-famous "homework zone". As the infrastructure in the stretch of occupied 8-lane highway that has now been dubbed "Umbrella Square" becomes more entrenched by the day, one would not be too surprised if by this time next week the makeshift "shower" tents have been plumbed in with hot and cold running water.

Behind this festive atmosphere, however, questions are intensifying about the long-term impact of the protests on business confidence in Hong Kong.



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