Hong Kong

So for example…


Does China not realize they’re slowly killing a golden goose?

They know what they’re doing. It’s more a liability than an asset as it exists today. Capital has been fleeing Hong Kong for some time now. For the last ~8 years in my frequent travel there, everyone I knew was planning to leave.

I don’t think Hong Kong will be a major global economic center a decade from now, and I think that’s by design.

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Unless I’m mistaken most of the population are still UK subjects right? Does that not make them also EU citizens (for now)? At the very least it’s not so hard to leave but for financial concerns.

You’re mistaken. BN(O) status had to be applied for(though enormous numbers of people did), and it’s also not possible to get anymore, I’m pretty sure the last round was in 1997. It’s also not quite regular citizenship(it’s somewhere between being a Commonwealth Citizen and a UK Citizen, getting some benefits of both), and AFAIK they are not granted EU citizenship.

My wife is chinese, from Shanghai, got Hong Kong citizenship (because her mother was from the island of Hong Kong) and has a passport that let her visit UK or travel through Europe for three months without a problem, but she can’t get citizenship in Europe (well, actually she does, because of being married to me, not because of being from Hong Kong). On a diferent note, most hongkongese I know (who have the means of leaving their country) have chosen Canada as their new destination. But it is more complex than that. Is quite common for a wealthy hongkongese family to raise their kids in english, mandarin and cantonese becoming secondary languages, and to send them to study abroad. That also puts a distance between them (the cantonese elite) to the actual citizens who fill most of the working class (cantonese speakers). The irruption of a new elite class with a diferent cultural background (from Mainland China) and language (mandarin) has been a growing concern, as Rym says, for many years now. Also, continous complains for the behaviour of tourists coming from mainland China. Add to this a complete disconnection between young students and what the system can offer to them. Also, Shenzhen, as a painful growing city right at the border, a huge mandarin capital overshadowing Hong Kong. Feeling quite sad about it. Spent some of my best time in life there, between 2003-2004.

Thing have been a happening. Hong Kong protests escalate with storming of legislative building - Vox

I’m debating whether we actually stop in Hong Kong for a few days this fall en route to Tokyo, or just skip it.

On one hand, visiting any place during increasing civil unrest is often unwise. On the other hand, if China “wins” this conflict I may never be able to visit Hong Kong again, making this possibly a last-chance.

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Some claims were made that this latest thing (the flag hanging, “violence”, going into the government building) were orchestrated by the Hong Kong Police Department. The evidence they site is that the video clip was pre-recorded four hours before things went down based on the guys watch. It kinda popped up on the news then disappeared.

I can’t speak for the people of Hong Kong, but I can say that everyone I know who lives (mostly lived: they’ve fled over the last five years) there would rather be under British rule or completely independent than have any political affiliation with China.

A quick visit to Sai Kung is always recommended.

The HK colonial flag is a HUGE thumbing-the-nose at China. That sounds like a conspiracy theory from Pro-democracy groups that want to disavow the vandalism. Also, western journalists covered the event live.

From a purely tactical viewpoint it was better for the police to fall back and then later clear the protesters after the break-in rather than escalate the situation to the violence that got the HK PD really bad press at previous demonstrations. By and large this seems to have been the correct decision (both from a not having people get injured perspective and from a bureaucratic political perspective of trying to avoid more bad PR and getting to cast the opposition as unruly).

I see this going one of a handful of ways in the end.

  • China backs off publicly, but continues to undermine the population via economic policy and subsidized migration in order to sabotage public sentiment and fully absorb Hong Kong in the next decade.
  • China cracks down and fully absorbs Hong Kong in violation of the treaty, theoretically giving the UK an avenue to challenge the handover (it’s not supposed to be complete until 2047) but in effect becoming a fait accompli
  • Hong Kong demands an independence and/or return-to-the-UK referendum. Who knows what fresh hell that unleashes. Maximum chaos.
  • Hong Kong general strike. See above IRT maximum chaos.

I don’t see a future where the people of Hong Kong retain democratic representation and political freedom short of an open UK/China conflict or a local revolutionary movement gaining the backing of other adversaries of China.

Does the UK even want any part of this? Aren’t they completely out of it at this point? The people of Hong Kong are basically on their own. Anyone who tries to help them is basically going to have to war with China.

How are Hong Kong’s relations with Taiwan?

I would think that they’re in somewhat similar situations and would be natural allies.

The UK negotiated the handover directly, under duress. China basically said they’d invade otherwise.

During talks with Thatcher, China planned to invade and seize Hong Kong if the negotiations set off unrest in the colony. Thatcher later said that Deng told her bluntly that China could easily take Hong Kong by force, stating that “I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon”, to which she replied that “there is nothing I could do to stop you, but the eyes of the world would now know what China is like”.

The UK can’t/won’t do anything. Even if they wanted to, they don’t have the force projection capabilities to make good on any threats or promises. That ship sailed.

Independence is probably the most popular option, coupled with a close alliance to Taiwan, the US, and the UK. Many polls show Hongkongers identify primarily as… Hongkongers.

Granted, if you asked me, I identify as a New Yorker more than an American, so YMMV…

I know the solution I want…


I guess I never looked into the details enough. My original impression was:

  1. UK colonizes Hong Kong when colonization is cool.
  2. Colonization becomes uncool. UK agrees amicably (to UK and China, but not necessarily HK itself) to give HK back to China after X years.
  3. It happened
  4. Things were chill in the short term and got worse over time, like when the company you work for gets bought.
  5. Here we are today.

The truth seems to be:

  1. Hong Kong was colonized after the first Opium war.
  2. Japan conquered it during WWII (news to me)
  3. China and UK took it back. Goes back to being UK colony.
  4. Hong Kong becomes the crazy awesome place.
  5. In 1984 the diplomatic events you described happened and they agreed to give it back in 1997.
  6. They gave it back in 1997 as agreed.
  7. Downhill towards today.

So I wasn’t too far off, but definitely wrong.

China’s navy is still a mostly territorial waters affair, but HK is well covered by defense systems on the mainland that have area denial capabilities hundreds of miles out from the shoreline. The US of course has an interest in HK, but I find it hard to believe anyone would be willing to kick off the AIR-SEA battle with China over HK independence rather than an attack against a treaty partner like Taiwan, Japan, or the Philippines. HK basically is going to be slowly subsumed into the Chinese mainland political and legal systems unless there is a significant cost to do so.

If I were playing a 4x game as Hong Kong, I’d be trying to pull out of Hong Kong with as much as possible and leave scorched earth behind. I know that’s not what people want to think about, but picturing it in that context kinda tells China’s perspective. They have this super valuable port and control all its land borders, may as well take it. China’s not going for the diplomacy victory condition.