11 months ago
At one point, Hong Kong was more than just an international business hub; it was a paradigm.
As The New York Times reports, the British protectorate, which was handed back to the Chinese 20 years ago this Saturday (July 1), was supposed to exude a potential future for China: “a vibrant crossroads of East and West that [it could] … emulate,” per the Times.
And while it’s still one of the world’s top finance hubs, China never really ended up buying in to its potential—and the city is slowly starting to suffer because of that disappointment.
The main reason seems to be political. The Chinese government is at constant odds with the remnants of democratic British rule (an active anti-Communist opposition has formed) and this has had a crippling effect on how China governs Hong Kong. This has translated to delays on infrastructure upgrades and a dearth of affordable housing. In addition, the Communist government is up to its old tricks, abducting members of the opposition and often stamping down on personal freedoms.
The city also hasn’t made any noticeable cultural upgrades like adding any museums (there are zero in the city), and a high-speed rail system has been mired in construction delays as well. In short, the last two decades have not been spent painting the city as a travel destination.