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Protesters give a hand signal, signifying the “Five demands, not one less,” during a demonstration Protesters give a hand signal, signifying the “Five demands, not one less,” during a demonstration against the new national security law in Hong Kong, July 1, 2020 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Beijing Will Come to Regret the End of Hong Kong’s Autonomy

Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020

For most of the past decade, visions of the future of Hong Kong tended to fall into one of two starkly divided camps. The first, optimistic one held that the surprising resilience of Hong Kong’s civil society, including one example after another of massive and, until recently, overwhelmingly peaceful civil disobedience, would gradually bring Beijing around to the view that trying to impose tight controls over the city was not worth the devastating potential cost.

Hong Kong, after all, had laid golden eggs for China for more than 20 years following Britain’s “handover” of the highly cosmopolitan and globalized outpost in 1997. These eggs consisted of huge financial flows that entered China via Hong Kong’s banks and stock market, as well as access to lots of technology owned by Western companies that remained skittish about making direct investments in mainland China. ...

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