Hong Kong government officials are scrambling to take action after controversial comments from the international rating agency Moody’s sent shockwaves through the financial system. Moody’s announced they were downgrading Hong Kong’s credit rating outlook to “negative,” leaving officials alarmed and looking for answers.
Amid the uproar, Zhou Kaixuan, a confidante of CK Hutchison Group founder Li Ka-shing, revealed that Li Ka-shing had issued a warning about the impending economic downfall as early as 2021. According to Zhou, Li Ka-shing predicted that the economy was on the verge of “falling off a cliff.”
The downgrade led to disdain from Hong Kong government officials. Chief Secretary for Administration Chan Kwok-kee criticized Moody’s rationale for the downgrade, attributing the issue to China’s economic problems. Similarly, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po responded in an interview with foreign media, labeling Moody’s rating of Hong Kong as “unfair.”
Journalist Zheng Xin reports that the decline in Hong Kong’s credit rating has sparked controversy surrounding the country’s economic stability. Li Zhaobo, a teaching and research scholar at the CUHK Business School, warned that Hong Kong should reconsider its heavy reliance on the mainland for investment, as this could diminish the city’s status as an international financial center.
As leaders struggle to address the crisis, it was also revealed that Chief Executive Lee Ka-chao of Hong Kong was not invited to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit, despite the government’s claims to the contrary. The news has further fueled tensions between the U.S. and Hong Kong, with the U.S. State Department making it clear that they never planned to include Lee Ka-chao at the summit due to the ongoing controversy surrounding human rights abuses by the Hong Kong government.
In a shocking interview with BBC, Chow Ting, former secretary-general of Hong Kong Demosisto, described Hong Kong as a place of “fear.” This bold statement comes as Zhou Ting recently announced she has opted to stay in Canada to study rather than return to Hong Kong due to a looming 10-month prison sentence.
With unprecedented challenges presented by the Moody’s downgrading and concerns about the legitimacy of government claims regarding international relations, Hong Kong grapples with an uncertain future. As tensions and instability rise, the resilient people of Hong Kong continue to search for hope and a path forward in the wake of mounting adversities.