(p. A6) HONG KONG — The tapioca pearls at Fred Liu’s bubble teahouse are springy and fresh, just like the fish balls at Elaine Lau’s noodle shop. But that is not the only reason customers flock to these eateries in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay shopping district.
Both are members of the so-called yellow economy, shops that openly support the democracy movement remaking Hong Kong as it strives to protect the freedoms differentiating the territory from the rest of China.
After seven months of street protests against Beijing’s assault on these liberties, Hong Kong is color-coded — and bitterly divided. The yellow economy refers to the hue of umbrellas once used to defend demonstrators against pepper spray and streams of tear gas. That is in contrast to blue businesses, which support the police.
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As the protests gathered force last year, Rocky Siu watched as an orderly column of demonstrators, miles long, marched past one of his ramen restaurants. When the police cracked down, he opened his doors, offering half-price bowls of noodles and free saline solution to wash the tear gas from protesters’ eyes.
“I’m losing money, but that’s not the point,” he said. “We have to support our young people.”
Mr. Siu’s father was born in China and came to Hong Kong to seek a better life. But he owns a jewelry factory on the mainland and is, as Mr. Siu puts it, “deep blue.”
“I tell him, ‘I don’t understand. You escaped China, but now you’re supporting them,’” Mr. Siu said. “To me, it’s not yellow or blue. It’s black and white, right and wrong.”
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date Jan. 19, 2020, and has the title “Yellow or Blue? In Hong Kong, Businesses Choose Political Sides.”)