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Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020

Hong Kong security laws, that block dissent, also complicate RE investments for China’s elites

Hong Kong security laws, that block dissent, also complicate RE investments for China’s elites

Relatives close to China’s most powerful political figures own some $51M in Hong Kong real estate
Individuals with family ties to some of the most powerful figures in China’s Community Party have tens of millions of dollars invested in Hong Kong, including some $51 million in high-end real estate.

Now, new national strict security laws adopted in Hong Kong — with the backing of mainland China — may help those individuals financially, but could also complicate and hurt their investments there, according to a New York Times investigation. Those laws provide China with another tool to block dissent, the Times reported.

Among the people who own property in Hong Kong are Li Quianxin, the elder daughter of China’s third-most powerful figure, Li Zhanshu. And Qi Qiaoqiao, the sister of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has invested in Hong Kong real estate since the early 1990s.

Qi’s daughter bought a villa in one of Hong Kong’s priciest residential districts, Repulse Bay, in 2009 for $19.3 million, and owns at least five other properties. The daughter of China’s fourth-most powerful official owns a $2 million home in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s latest security laws have drawn condemnation abroad — the Trump administration recently placed sanction on top Hong Kong political officials. Owning assets in the territory could open up China Community Party relatives to sanctions as well.

The security laws have also raised doubts about the long-term viability of Hong Kong’s unique financial status and role as an economic hub in Asia. Sustained protests against those laws are also affecting interest in Hong Kong from abroad.

“Members of the Red aristocracy in China, including the princelings, have made huge investments in Hong Kong,” Chinese University of Hong Kong Willy Lam told the Times. “If Hong Kong suddenly loses its financial status, they cannot park their money here.” [NYT] — Dennis Lynch

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