Andy Xie, former chief Asia economist at Morgan Stanley, and now an independent economist based in Hong Kong, shares his views on the Hong Kong Protest for BBC News. Andy agrees that it is economic factors that are behind much of the current unrest.
“Deep down most people are concerned about bread and butter issues,” he says.
“Hong Kong has not been governed well since the handover, local people feel that their living standards have been going down, and that they are being marginalised in Hong Kong. That’s what’s behind this discontent.”
For middle class residents, many with passports to other countries, that’s a choice they can make. But, as Mr Xie points out, many young Hong Kongers educated after 1997 find themselves trapped.
“It’s difficult for the people here to leave now,” he says. “Hong Kong introduced mother tongue education in ’98 – in Cantonese.
People are less likely to speak either English or Mandarin than before the handover. So it is very difficult for people to emigrate.”
“People are desperate and they are looking for a quick solution – I don’t see that coming – so this thing is going to go on. ”
The audio discussion you can find it here…
Dr Xie is one of the few economists who has accurately predicted economic bubbles including the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the more recent subprime meltdown in the United States. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1997 and was Managing Director and Head of the firm’s Asia/Pacific economics team until 2006. Prior to that he spent two years with Macquarie Bank in Singapore, where he was an associate director in corporate finance. He also spent five years as an economist with the World Bank.