HONG KONG: DON'T LOOK BACK
The word "handover" carries such negative connotations that I sometimes think it should be phased out in discussions of Hong Kong. "Handover" sounds much like surrender or sell-out. The ex-British colony is not looking back. On the basis of 24 hours there, Hong Kong is not rose-tinted about the future. There are big questions about the form of universal suffrage to be adopted (see below), and about the impact of global economic shocks. But the goal of being Asia's financial capital is clear, and the strengths of the province are very strong. Certainly stronger than ten or five years ago, even if doubts have not been banished.
Ten years ago the talk was of defence against and insulation from China. Today the focus is on engagement - not as a bridge but as an "integrator", above all an integrator of Hong Kong's finance with Chinese ideas and people. An Asian time-zone version of our own ambitions.
HONG KONG: NEXT STEPS TO SUFFRAGE
The Hong Kong Basic Law contains the "ultimate aim" of universal suffrage. On 29 December this was ruled out for the 2012 Chief Executive elections but ruled in for 2017, and the 2020 Legislative Council elections in 2020). The delay is disappointing (see my comments on Hong Kong Elections) but the commitment from the Chinese Government is very important. The next steps are to see it through: it will be the ally of long-term confidence and stability.
FACT OF THE DAY: AIR CONDITIONING
The air conditioners bought in China in 2008 will use all the energy produced by the Three Gorges Dam. Oh no.
posted on 25 February 2008 17:57
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