There are two sides to Hong Kong's youth protesting against the move by the government of the special administrative region to plug some loopholes in the SAR's legal system with necessary legislative amendments to its extradition laws.
The SAR government has been championing the development of innovation and technology to diversify the local economy
On the brighter side, it demonstrates their enthusiasm for public affairs and their youthful idealism.
On the darker side, it exposes the sad fact that many young people in the city see dim prospects for social upward mobility and will avail themselves of every opportunity to vent their frustration.
Indeed, young people increasingly realize their tertiary qualifications are depreciating fast in the era of mass production of degrees. Hong Kong's narrow economic base has aggravated the situation.
Robust as it is, the local economy's over-reliance on just a few sectors — particularly finance and real estate — means both tertiary graduates and high school dropouts find it increasingly hard to land a job with decent pay, except for the elites who can snatch a place in the highly competitive finance and professional service sectors.
The escalating home prices in the city over recent years — due mainly to the severe shortage of usable land, and driven by unabated cheap money generated by global quantitative easing over the past decade — have priced most Hong Kong residents, especially young people, out of the market, compounding their grievances.
To address the housing issue, the SAR government has come up with an ambitious plan for a mega reclamation project to create 1,700 hectares of usable land. And both the central and SAR governments are aware of the structural problems in the Hong Kong economy, as well as its vulnerability and lack of sustainability, and are taking actions to resolve them.
The SAR government has been championing the development of innovation and technology to diversify the local economy. While on its part, the central government has encouraged the SAR to further integrate into national development, particularly by proactively participating in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area plan, which not only promises Hong Kong more room for economic development but also provides Hong Kong youth with more career opportunities.
Some young people from Hong Kong have already established successful careers or businesses on the Chinese mainland, taking advantage of first-mover advantages, as well as government incentives and preferential policies. It is to be hoped many more local youths will look beyond the city and set their sights on the mainland for a brighter future.
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