Hong Kong on brink of recession as trade war, political protests escalate

This image appears to show Chinese security force vehicles inside the Shenzen Bay Sports Center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong

The US State Department said earlier it was deeply concerned about reports that Chinese police forces were gathering near the border with Hong Kong and urged the city's government to respect freedom of speech.

In an earlier tweet, Mr Trump said he had "ZERO doubt" that Mr Xi could "humanely solve the Hong Kong problem".

Fashion brands Givenchy, Versace and Coach apologized after Chinese social media users criticized them for selling T-shirts that showed Hong Kong, as well as the Chinese territory of Macau and self-ruled Taiwan, as separate countries. "So we sincerely pray that President Trump and other governments use all means and sanctions necessary against Beijing government and Hong Kong government". After writing that "thousands of companies" are leaving China, the president said, "Of course China wants to make a deal".

The territory's central bank has reserves to defend the Hong Kong dollar's exchange rate, "but the city's property market would be hit hard, resulting in a deep recession", they said. The Chinese embassy in the United States officially protested when members of the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong met with protesters.

The president's tweet came after weeks of sometimes violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police in Hong Kong that started over a now-defunct extradition bill that would allow defendants to be tried in mainland China. China's ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, said Thursday that Beijing would not "sit by and watch", warning that his government had "enough solutions and enough power to quell the unrest swiftly".

Hong Kong International Airport has been closed at times this week in the wake of the massive anti-government protests that have paralysed one of Asia's key transport hubs.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has warned China against repeating a crackdown like those it carried out during the Tiananmen Square massacre.

He also tied the protests to a U.S. trade deal with Beijing, in the face of ongoing trade tensions. This group would have to work imaginatively to persuade both the Hong Kong government and the protesters to enter into negotiations.

Separately, the U.S. president's national security advisor, John Bolton, warned China on Wednesday to tread "carefully" in Hong Kong "because people in America remember Tiananmen Square".

The Financial Times newspaper reported earlier in July that the US president had agreed with Xi at the Group of 20 summit in June to tone down criticism of China's handling of the crisis. They have consistently described protesters as "rioters". He said the territory was facing its gravest situation since it was handed back from the United Kingdom to China in 1997. On Wednesday evening, Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas to clear protesters who flashed laser pointers at a police station.

On Friday, the city's richest man, Li Ka-Shing, urged people to "love China, love Hong Kong and love yourself" in newspaper advertisements that marked his first comments on the crisis.

By effectively ending Hong Kong's semi-autonomous status, Beijing would sacrifice any credibility it might have in persuading Taiwan to reunify with mainland China under a similar formula.

Since its return to China from Britain in 1997, Hong Kong has operated under a "one country, two systems" policy that has afforded it a degree of autonomy.

Li, who is now 91, said it is important to invest in the younger generation to bear fruit for the future and for Hong Kong.

There have been fierce clashes between demonstrators and police on Hong Kong's streets.

It wrote: "The incident in Hong Kong won't be a repeat of the June 4 political incident in 1989".

"If they don't use violence, we don't use force".

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