Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she expects the financial hub to record negative economic growth for 2019, as the territory grapples with ongoing and often-violent anti-government protests.
Chief executive Lam was speaking two days after financial secretary Paul Chan said Hong Kong had fallen into recession and was unlikely to achieve any growth this year.
Anti-government protests in the territory escalated in June, plunging Hong Kong into its greatest political crisis in decades.
The demonstrations represent the biggest populist challenge faced by Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
Protestors are angry about what they view as increasing Chinese interference in Hong Kong, which is governed by China under the “one country, two systems” framework.
It emerged today that authorities in Hong Kong have disqualified prominent activist Joshua Wong from taking part in upcoming district elections.
Wong, who became the face of the student-led Umbrella Movement in the city in 2014, has not been a prominent figure in the current protests, which are largely leaderless.
He described the decision to ban him from running for office as “clearly politically driven”.
This year’s protests, which began over a now-withdrawn extradition bill, have evolved into calls for greater autonomy for Hong Kong.
Demonstrators are calling for Lam, who is backed by Beijing, to resign, among other demands. It was reported last week that the Chinese government was planning to replace Lam as the city’s chief executive.
Lam said the government would announce new measures to boost Hong Kong’s economy once unrest had subsided, but did not elaborate on what those steps might be.
The government last week announced relief measures of two billion Hong Kong dollars (£199m), following a package worth 19.1 billion Hong Kong dollars designed to support the economy issued in August.
Main image credit: Getty