The Chinese phrase qiu hou suan zhang is literally translated as “to balance the books after the autumn harvest”. But in common parlance it means “to take revenge when the time is ripe”. China’s leaders use the aphorism to discuss the problem of Hong Kong.

With peaceful and violent protests still escalating, and the police and government struggling to control the situation, Chinese officials have mostly struck a conciliatory tone until now. But even if the demonstrations fizzle out immediately and the former British colony returns to normality, Beijing will settle its scores and “Asia’s world city” will never be the same again.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.