The noise level about Hong Kong this year as we approach the 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is numerous decibels lower than it was twenty years ago. I suspect that if it were not for this mention and a few others around that this anniversary would go by totally unnoticed.
Twenty years ago there was international interest about the future of Hong Kong. There was an exodus of Hong Kongers like had never been seen before. For the amount of success that Hong Kong enjoyed at that time there were many who were forecasting Hong Kong’s complete demise along with its way of life. 150 years of British colonial rule was coming to an end. In its place there was to be a “One Country, Two Systems” order established which would allow Hong Kong to maintain its own political system, an independent judiciary, economic and financial affairs. This would be an historic arrangement the likes of which the world had never seen.
The world watched as PLA trucks with soldiers came into Hong Kong during a torrential downpour. Maybe an ominous omen. Hong Kong was to endure Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), the financial crisis, and the demand for full democracy which brought tens of thousands of protesters into the streets from September 26, 2014 to December 15, 2014. Yet through all of this Hong Kong has only emerged stronger and proved itself totally capable of self governance.
I will not bore you with statistics illustrating Hong Kong’s current dominance in Asia and, indeed, the world, but suffice it to say that this is a very special place which remains a centerpiece of finance, trade, and culture.
Happy 20th Anniversary Hong Kong SAR!
Contributed by Gene Hanratty