Air­port par­a­lyzed for 2nd day

Il­le­gal as­sem­blies dam­age Hong Kong’s global im­age

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhao Juecheng in Hong Kong, Zhang Hong­pei and Zhao Yusha in Bei­jing

Hong Kong air­port was se­ri­ously dis­rupted again on Tues­day by il­le­gal as­sem­blies as all check-in ser­vices for de­part­ing flights were sus­pended af­ter 4:30 pm as an­nounced by air­port au­thor­i­ties.

Other de­par­ture and ar­rival flights for the rest of the day will con­tinue to op­er­ate, Hong Kong In­ter­na­tional Air­port said in a no­tice sent to the Global Times on Tues­day.

One day of paral­y­sis costs the air­port roughly 206,000 pas­sen­ger counts and air cargo worth 10.1 bil­lion yuan ($1.4 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports. The air­port – one of the world’s busiest tran­sit hubs – con­trib­utes to 5 per­cent of Hong Kong’s GDP, Hong Kong Trans­port Sec­re­tary Frank Chan said in May.

Asked why the air­port per­mit­ted the il­le­gal assem­bly to par­a­lyze the oper­a­tions of the air­port for two con­sec­u­tive days, a spokesper­son for Air­port Au­thor­ity Hong Kong re­fused to com­ment.

The chaos on Tues­day fol­lowed the can­ce­la­tion of the re­main­ing in­bound and out­bound flights af­ter 4 pm on Mon­day.

Air­port Au­thor­ity Hong Kong on Mon­day can­celed the day’s re­main­ing flights af­ter thou­sands of pro­test­ers swarmed the main ter­mi­nal build­ing for a fourth day, the

big­gest dis­rup­tion yet to the ma­jor avi­a­tion hub since demon­stra­tions be­gan in early June.

Re­turn­ing to the air­port on Tues­day, hun­dreds of s sat in the de­par­ture area of the air­port, mak­ing it hard for trav­el­ers to walk through to the se­cu­rity check.

Near the board­ing area, pro­test­ers lined up trol­leys as a bar­ri­cade to block trav­el­ers.

Some pro­test­ers sug­gested that each per­son take a trol­ley, leav­ing none for or­di­nary trav­el­ers.

A pas­sen­ger from the Chi­nese main­land sur­named Tan told the Global Times at the air­port Tues­day that he could not make it to the se­cu­rity check due to the con­ges­tion caused by the pro­test­ers, and that he felt “very an­noyed.”

The pas­sen­ger, who was trans­fer­ring from Hong Kong to Europe, said, “I tried to con­vince them to make way but they were in­dif­fer­ent.”

An­other Aus­tralian pas­sen­ger con­fronted pro­test­ers on Mon­day, say­ing it was recognized world­wide that Hong Kong and Tai­wan are parts of China.

The pas­sen­ger asked pro­test­ers to find a job instead of stay­ing in the air­port and dis­rupt­ing other peo­ple’s trav­els.

An el­derly cou­ple, who told re­porters they were from New Zealand, shook their heads as pro­test­ers tried to ex­plain to them why they were demon­strat­ing.

Faced with a can­cel­la­tion, the wife said, “I can­not un­der­stand your stance, which only makes us hate Hong Kong and I won’t trans­fer from Hong Kong any­more.”

Be­fore the air­port an­nounce­ment, pas­sen­gers waited in the board­ing area where many air­line coun­ters ap­peared to be shut down.

Choi Koon-shum, chair­man of the Chi­nese Gen­eral Cham­ber of Com­merce, Hong Kong, told the Global Times that “il­le­gal as­sem­blies have now spread to such an im­por­tant tran­sit hub as the air­port. As an in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial and trade cen­ter, this will have a pro­found im­pact on Hong Kong’s im­age and rep­u­ta­tion on a global scale.”

As more flights are can­celled, in­vestors will ques­tion whether the city is still ruled by law, Choi said.

Ob­servers also ques­tioned if the air­port au­thor­i­ties have car­ried out ef­fec­tive mea­sures to deal with the rad­i­cal pro­test­ers.

Color rev­o­lu­tion signs

The air­port paral­y­sis fol­lows ob­struc­tion of pub­lic trans­port and es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in the city over the past weeks in­volv­ing bricks, stones, steel balls, dag­gers, ham­mers and other lethal weapons used to at­tack po­lice of­fi­cers. Hong Kong Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Tues­day that Hong Kong has been “se­ri­ously wounded” and asked the pub­lic if they are “hard­hearted enough to push the city into the abyss of de­struc­tion.”

The Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil con­demned “the mob’s be­hav­ior” on Mon­day and said their vi­o­lent ac­tions showed “signs of ter­ror­ism.”

Chi­nese ob­servers said the evo­lu­tion of Hong Kong’s protests showed a clear roadmap that re­sem­bles the pat­tern of a color rev­o­lu­tion.

The protests aim to com­pletely par­a­lyze the re­gion’s gov­ern­ment and po­lice, force the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to give up con­trol over Hong Kong to Western forces, they said.

The fea­ture of a color rev­o­lu­tion is to in­sti­gate street protests, dis­rupt so­cial or­der with vi­o­lence and par­a­lyze so­ci­ety in the short term, Fan Peng, a mem­ber of the Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tion of Hong Kong & Ma­cao Stud­ies, told the Global Times on Tues­day.

Other coun­tries and re­gions, in­clud­ing the US and the is­land of Tai­wan, played an im­por­tant role in Hong Kong’s chaotic sit­u­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to Fan.

Western politi­cians also con­stantly is­sue ir­re­spon­si­ble and ground­less com­ments on Hong Kong’s af­fairs, Zhang Dinghuai, a pro­fes­sor at the Cen­ter for Ba­sic Laws of Hong Kong and Ma­cao Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion of Shen­zhen Univer­sity, told the Global Times.

“Pro­test­ers are count­ing on Western coun­tries to help,” Zhang said.

“But those coun­tries are not go­ing to pay for Hong Kong’s loss. They are more than happy to see Hong Kong and the Chi­nese main­land suf­fer when the sit­u­a­tion de­te­ri­o­rates,” said Zhang.

A spokesper­son for the Of­fice of the Com­mis­sioner of China’s Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs in Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (HKSAR) on Tues­day ex­pressed strong dis­con­tent and ob­jec­tion to a state­ment by US Se­nate Repub­li­can leader Mitch Mccon­nell.

Mccon­nell warned China that any vi­o­lent crack­down on protests in Hong Kong would be “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.”

The sen­a­tor ig­nores facts, con­founds right and wrong, ground­lessly smears the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and the gov­ern­ment of the HKSAR and sends wrong sig­nals to Hong Kong rad­i­cal pro­test­ers, the spokesper­son said.

Hong Kong is China’s and Hong Kong’s af­fairs are China’s in­ter­nal af­fairs, said the spokesper­son. Any coun­try, or­ga­ni­za­tion and in­di­vid­ual is not al­lowed to in­ter­fere in Hong Kong’s af­fairs and China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to safe­guard na­tional sovereignt­y and Hong Kong’s pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity should not be un­der­mined.

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