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Hong Kong protests

Li Ka-shing urges Hong Kong protesters to see 'big picture'

Billionaire suggests understanding on both sides can help calm unrest

Li Ka-shing urged Hong Kong authorities to show "magnanimity" toward young protesters in an apparent call for restraint.   © Getty Images

HONG KONG -- Business tycoon Li Ka-shing has weighed in again on the demonstrations convulsing Hong Kong, calling for both protesters and the authorities to understand each other's perspectives.

"I hope that young people consider the big picture and that leaders show magnanimity" toward future generations, Li said Sunday at a Buddhist monastery in remarks reported by local media.

He called the situation the gravest blow to Hong Kong since World War II.

"In political issues, people must understand each other's views. That can turn big problems into small problems," he said. This has been interpreted as a call for restraint on the part of both radical protesters who have resorted to violence and police cracking down on the movement.

Li Ka-shing

Li took out two advertisements about the protests in local newspapers last month. One called for an end to violence. The other, more cryptic ad featured a line from a Chinese poem -- "the melon of Huangtai cannot endure further picking" -- the meaning of which has been debated.

Even after stepping down from the helm of his business empire last year, the 91-year-old Li, one of the world's richest men, has drawn close attention. He has increased his stakes in group flagships CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings over the past month, showing that he is still a player in the business world.

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