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People hold flags during a rally in Hong Kong. People hold flags during a rally to show support for China’s Uighur Muslims, in Hong Kong, Dec. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

China’s Policies Toward Hong Kong and Taiwan Are Driving a Slow-Motion Catastrophe

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020

In order to understand the mounting tensions in both Taiwan and Hong Kong over their relationships with mainland China, one must abandon the usual time frames of weeks, months or at most a handful of years and instead imagine the scenarios that open up over decades—five decades, to be precise. Over the next 50 years, interlocking dreams and nightmares will hang even more heavily over Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province, and Hong Kong, over which Beijing wants to assert more direct control, with possibly tragic outcomes.

China has all but announced that a new common reality must be forged between them by 2049. That is the year when China—by then, in all likelihood a superpower with the world’s largest economy—will celebrate the centennial of Communist Party rule. ...

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