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A cheque for € 1,200 each: the mini revolution in Hong Kong to curb the crisis
the BEIJING A deposit of ten thousand Hong Kong dollars, a thousand and 200 euros, to each adult citizen. Put hand to the wallet to the authorities of the former british colony, in an attempt to avert an unprecedented economic crisis. After months of protests against the governor Carrie Lam , nominated and endorsed by Beijing, the protests that have paralyzed the city, now has arrived the coronavirus to scuttle further the areas on which Hong Kong bases its wealth, tourism, trade, real estate. 2019 had already closed in the recession, the first in ten years, now the Port fragrant sinking deeper. So, after many vacillations, the contested Carrie Lam and his team have finally decided to open the (rich) chests citizens, launching in the coming months mega stimulus plan in deficit by 14 billion euros, 4.2% of Gdp. Dish: one-off payment which is distributed to all citizens, including foreigners with permanent residence permit, “overwhelmed by the heavy atmosphere”, as said by the secretary of finance Paul Chan. In the hope that out of the house and begin to spend.

In recent months, the Hong Kong government seemed totally paralyzed. Faced with the protest, pro-democracy, which has in no way responded, proving to be beholden to Beijing. And faced with the economic crisis in which the city was screwing, resulting from the trade war between China and the United States, and then aggravated by the disorders. In theory, the recipe suggested by the communist authorities to restore calm was to take the citizens of the portfolio, let them suffer the costs (economic and human) of the protest and make them see the benefits of a return to order. In practice, despite huge budgetary reserves accumulated over decades of surplus, the financial, the government had done almost nothing. And also the management of the emergency coronavirus had caused much discontent, also for the decision not to close the border with mainland China.

The budget announced yesterday, however, is a mini revolution, because after fifteen years, reports the accounts of the city in a deficit of 38 billion Hong Kong dollars this year, $ 4.5 billion, even 139, in 2021. Contains a wide range of interventions in favour of companies and workers, tax reductions and subsidised loans, a package for the promotion of tourism, new urban development projects, including the construction of 100 thousand housing units in five years. And then the cheque for 1200 euros a head. A massive plan, which should help the economy to not fall too: the fork forecast by the government must be between-1.5 and +0.5%. But some analysts they doubt the effectiveness: the transfer of money to the citizens, in fact, is a measure that is not regressive, benefiting from equally scavengers, students, and tycoon real estate, rather than focusing on the sectors and categories most penalized. Little or nothing is also done to overcome one of the structural problems of the city, namely the cost and crowds of rents and houses.

then There is the unknown policy: in addition to the carrot, will the stick? One of the effects of the virus was to reset the protests, who were already very much weakened, at the end of last year. The hostility towards the government remains at the maximum, but is not expressed more. It is possible that Beijing will exploit this moment of difficulty and fatigue in order to strengthen his control over the city, for example, pushing the government to approve of the never-implemented law on national security. At the beginning of January is Xi Jinping has replaced the maximum representative of the central government in Hong Kong, the head of the liaison Office, appointing to the role, Luo Huining, a loyalist known for his “normalization” in various provinces of China. Two weeks ago, then, in the midst of the crisis coronavirus, has also appointed a new, powerful, responsible for the affairs of Hong Kong within the government, Xia Baolong. The other man trusted and another hawk, known for the policy of demolition of thousands of christian crosses in the province of Zhejiang.

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