Amid the growing social tensions in Hong Kong, a pro-Beijing political party has suggested offering cash handouts to residents, claiming that this would “certainly help people feel happier.”
Quickly pointing out that the plan had nothing to do with the upcoming elections, New People’s Party chair Regina Ip floated the idea of giving 8,000 Hong Kong Dollars ($1,000) to residents during a press conference on Tuesday. This is coming at a time where the city is plagued with protests over the contentious proposed Chinese extradition bill and recent violent attacks by alleged pro-Beijing “triads.”
Ip, who was joined by party deputy chairs Johnny Hon, Pun Kwok-shan, and Eunice Yun during the announcement, said all of the city’s adult permanent residents will be receiving the amount regardless of their income level.
According to Ip, the party has sought a meeting with Financial Secretary Paul Chan before the next budget is announced in February, reports Coconuts Media.
While offering cash handouts to citizens is not a new idea in Hong Kong, such attempts in the past have been criticized by those who suggest the money should be used somewhere more important.
Ip says a cash handout would aid Hong Kongers with the impact of a possible economic downturn due to the China-US trade war, predictions of sluggish growth by economists, and tourism and business drop caused by the anti-extradition protests.
Ip further noted that residents also want to restore peace and stability to the city, pointing out that most people won’t use the money to “buy helmets and shields.”
When reporters brought up that the move could be somehow related to the upcoming district council elections in November, and Legislative Council elections next September, Ip shot back with: “Don’t always think that it’s about the elections.”
Featured image via Facebook/mvmtv.hk