Hong Kong protests augur murky outlook for financial hub

In this July 10, 2019, photo, a man walks on a bridge near the Bank of China Tower at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’

In this July 10, 2019, photo, a man walks on a bridge near the Bank of China Tower at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a woman walks near the skyline of Hong Kong at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a woman walks near the skyline of Hong Kong at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk in front of the Hong Kong Exchange Square at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk in front of the Hong Kong Exchange Square at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk in front of the Hong Kong Exchange Square at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk in front of the Hong Kong Exchange Square at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a woman stands near the skyline of Hong Kong at Central, business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest”

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a woman stands near the skyline of Hong Kong at Central, business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest”

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a man walks past a money exchange shop decorated with different banknotes at Central, a business district of Hong Kong.

In this June 10, 2019, photo, a man walks past a money exchange shop decorated with different banknotes at Central, a business district of Hong Kong.

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk at the HSBC headquarters at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest” econo

In this June 10, 2019, photo, people walk at the HSBC headquarters at Central, a business district of Hong Kong. It’s still the world’s “freest” econo

In this July 7, 2019, photo, protesters holding a Union Jack flag block the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street of high-end brands also popular

In this July 7, 2019, photo, protesters holding a Union Jack flag block the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street of high-end brands also popular

In this July 7, 2019, photo, riot police prevent people, some are mainland Chinese tourists, from crossing a street during a face-off with protesters

In this July 7, 2019, photo, riot police prevent people, some are mainland Chinese tourists, from crossing a street during a face-off with protesters

In this July 6, 2019, photo, tourists walk at the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street of high-end brands also popular with mainland Chinese tou

In this July 6, 2019, photo, tourists walk at the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street of high-end brands also popular with mainland Chinese tou

In this  July 7, 2019, photo, mainland Chinese tourists, right, watch and film the protesters with placards march on a street in Hong Kong. It's still

In this July 7, 2019, photo, mainland Chinese tourists, right, watch and film the protesters with placards march on a street in Hong Kong. It's still

In this July 6, 2019, photo, tourists, some with their luggage line up to get into the Chanel store at the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street

In this July 6, 2019, photo, tourists, some with their luggage line up to get into the Chanel store at the Canton Road, the one-stop-shop high street

In this July 6, 2019, photo, Chinese tourists take a souvenir photo against the Central district scenic at the Water Front in Hong Kong. It's still th

In this July 6, 2019, photo, Chinese tourists take a souvenir photo against the Central district scenic at the Water Front in Hong Kong. It's still th

HONG KONG (AP) — It's still the world's "freest" economy, one of the biggest global financial centers and a scenic haven for tycoons and tourists, but the waves of protests rocking Hong Kong are exposing strains unlikely to dissipate as communist-ruled Beijing's influence grows.

The end of the former British colony's 50-year grace period after China took control in 1997 is years away, and the protests have made only a minor dent in day-to-day business. But they point to issues clouding the outlook, as investors and residents fret that the city will lose its Western-style freedoms.

Many in Hong Kong believe their future hinges on keeping the civil liberties, independent courts and other advantages Beijing promised to preserve for at least a half-century after Britain ceded control under an arrangement dubbed "one-country, two systems."