China blames Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing for protests

Targeting wealthy tycoon sends message to other business people: New York Times

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing.

Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Anger over expensive housing caused by real estate billionaires like Li Ka-shing is to blame for the recent spate of protests in Hong Kong, according to state-controlled Chinese media.

The communist country seems to be returning to its early years when it fought against the landlords, the New York Times wrote Monday (September 30).

Li, 91, has been able to increase his wealth to become Hong Kong’s wealthiest person partly because of tycoons like him did not dabble in politics, the newspaper wrote, but under President Xi Jinping, China has been tightening its control and demanding absolute loyalty from business leaders too.

In Hong Kong, a pro-Chinese political group demanded the authorities take land from the property developers to build affordable housing, the New York Times reported.

Li himself, who once met and dined with several Chinese leaders, has come in for more criticism as his stance on the recent wave of protests was seen by Beijing as not outspoken and tough enough.

The tycoon took out ads calling for reconciliation between the Hong Kong government and the protesters, inviting condemnations of ambivalence from Chinese commentators.

If China dared to take on a powerful and influential business leader like Li, it was sending a “chilling message” to other Chinese economic actors, the New York Times reported.

Updated : 2021-04-11 16:20 GMT+08:00