Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, urged people to “love China, love Hong Kong and love yourself” on Friday in a bid to calm the city’s escalating crisis as pop concerts and public events were cancelled in response to anti-government protests.
Ten weeks of confrontations between police and protesters have plunged Hong Kong into turmoil, and present the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.
Li’s message in front-page advertisements in major newspapers in the Asian financial hub urged the public to “cease the anger with love” and “stop the violence”. The advertisements were signed “a Hong Kong citizen Li Ka-shing”.
The protests began as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China and have swelled into wider calls for democracy.