Hong Kong: Global or Chinese Capital?

Hong Kong’s reputation as an international financial powerhouse thrived under democratic principles of free speech, free assembly and free trade. But Beijing leaders would prefer speedier integration with China and what they regard as more patriotism. “Tension between these perceptions has long existed, but a series of developments have made them far more pronounced and could eventually undermine Hong Kong’s international status, driving foreign companies and finance houses to Singapore or elsewhere,” explains journalist Philip Bowring. “Hong Kong citizens could also find themselves deprived of benefits such as visa-free entry to dozens of countries that they enjoy – and other Chinese do not.” Tensions emerged with Xi Jinping’s presidency in 2013 and the Umbrella Movement protests in 2014. More recently, a trade battle with the United States and denial of a work visa for a Financial Times journalist signal more controls may be on the way. Bowring points out that China will struggle to simultaneously relish Hong Kong’s financial success and punish it for autonomy. The region’s special economic status for US trade, as outlined by the 1992 US-HK Policy Act, could be under threat. – YaleGlobal