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Ex-HSBC chairman David Eldon says pro-democracy protesters should 'move on'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 November, 2014, 1:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 November, 2014, 5:10pm

Former HSBC chairman David Eldon wrote in his blog on Wednesday that it is time for pro-democracy protesters to “move on” from the current impasse.

In a blog entitled “Hopes for the Future”, Eldon said Hong Kong needs to find a resolution so the community can move on and focus on providing a solid base for economic growth.

He said it appeared participants in the Occupy movement had clear instructions and ideas about what to do in its early stages, but now little advice was available on the question of “what next?”

“And this is where we are at the present,” he said.

He said student protesters could generate goodwill by “moving on” from their current position.

“I honestly have no doubt about the students abilities, nor about their sincerity, but you know – the amount of goodwill they would generate immediately by saying ‘we’ve made our point forcefully, but it’s now time to move on’ would be really significant,” he said.

For example, if the students have concerns about their future – such as the job market when they leave school, housing costs or other social service provisions – they could add these into their agenda in dialogue with the government.

He said students all over the world are often idealistic, focusing their efforts on political reform rather than acknowledging the importance of commercial enterprise, but he had heard a story about a young protester which might suggest he understood both after seeing his father idle at home.

“When asked why, the father explained that his business had been so severely affected by the demonstrations that he had no customers," Eldon said.

“The young man, I understand, has not returned to the protest lines – but I suspect he is also unlikely to speak out for fear of abuse. Oh dear!”

The former HSBC boss often writes about politics and current affairs in his blog.

Last month, Eldon wrote that revelations that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying accepted HK$50 million in a deal with Australian engineering firm UGL might lead to pressure from Beijing for Leung to step down.

“President Xi Jinping has made very clear his abhorrence of corruption, and if there is the slightest unpleasant smell about this, what better way than to remove an unpopular official?”

“The departure will not have been the result of student pressure ... and should see the temporary installation of an altogether more popular person in the shape of [Chief Secretary] Carrie Lam [Cheng Yuet-ngor],” he wrote.