After six months of demonstrations and riots, Hong Kong entered recession.Tourism is in a standstill, sales of luxury products have collapsed, and if the former British colony is still the third financial place in the world, we already see a discreet movement of capital towards Singapore.In fact a process is underway and recent events are only the tip of the iceberg.In reality, it is the whole building left behind by more than a century of British colonization that is lizard.
A very quiet colonization.
The main merit of British colonization is to have made Hong Kong a stability enclave in a fury sea.The colony was thus preserved from the upheavals which raged in the rest of China, whether collectivization, the Great Bond in front or the cultural revolution and its completions.
Governed by English appointed by London but managed by a local Chinese administration Hong Kong became an oasis of stability based on two principles.A market economy subject to a minimum of regulation and a rule of law with courts operating in all independence of the political provision.Hong Kong could thus define itself as a Chinese city, managed by English whose political and economic environment allowed the Chinese entrepreneurial genius to express itself practically without hindrance.
What missed this painting was the notion of "democracy" but few were offended.And the average Honggais, too happy to be sheltered from the ideological upheavals that rocked China, easily accommodated an English presence that did not lead its freedom of personal expression while leaving it free to'indulge in' economic activity of his choice.
Communists in power.
The taking of power by the Communists in China in 1949 did not affect Hong Kong's status for essentially two reasons.First, as part of the Cold War and the isolation that Westerners had imposed on China, Hong Kong was useful for Beijing leaders as the only window they had towards the world.Second, unlike Taiwan, Hong Kong never presented itself as an alternative, whether political or economic, with a communist regime.It was at most an incongruity, useful but without consequence whose solution could wait.
The “solution” came some 50 years later with the retrocession to China 1997 of the British colony on the basis of an agreement which provided that for the next 50 years Hong Kong would be granted a large autonomy on the basis of the principleof “a state two systems”, under the name of the special administrative region of the People's Republic of China.This was a foot call to Taiwan who suggested that in a reunified China, two systems could coexist.
In fact, it was a huge misunderstanding.With a parliament, a government, political parties, an army, a flourishing economy and the deep feeling of being Chinese, Taiwan was indeed a "system".Hong Kong was nothing of that.At most it was a singularity of which a large part of the population recognized themselves more as Hong Kong than as Chinese.
Leaving Hong Kong the English had left an administration in their image behind them.This one, after their departure continued to function as she had always done;Thus, even after the retrocession, Hong Kong continued to be rigged English but without the English.
Hong Kong had always defined in relation to China.Thus, for decades, the British colony was an island of prosperity in a destitute China and the average Hong Kong who went to China was a nanti.Then, under the leadership of Deng Hsiaoping things changed.In 30 years China became global economic power.While the Chinese economy was in full expansion, Hong Kong was treading.Rather than reinventing yourself and focusing on research, new technologies or industrial production, the economy of the former British colony remained focused on what had made its success in the past, namely finances, thetourism, retail and logistics.
During the retrocession, in 1997, Hong Kong represented 18% of Chinese GDP.Today it represents the 1.9 %.Shenzhen, the Chinese commune which adjoins Hong Kong was, 40 years ago a village of sinners.Today it is a metropolis of 12 million inhabitants with a flourishing economy and a purchasing power per capita which is close to that of Hong Kong.
The more China developed, the more Hong Kong lost not only its importance but also its singularity compared to the rest of the country.This slow erosion of the primacy of Hong Kong, which spanned over twenty years, cohabits with massive differences in the population.With 7.3 million Hong Kong inhabitants has an average per capita income which exceeds that of England or Germany.However in parallel, 20% of the population lives below the poverty line and the average income of the 10% of the population at the top of the wealth scale is 44 times higher than that of 10% at the bottom of the scale.This cleavage in terms of income provoked an economic imbalance that is increasingly not supported by the population and was in turn exacerbated by a colossal housing crisis.
The most expensive real estate in the world.
Hong has the most expensive real estate in the world.Certainly the region does not lack land but the land belongs to the state which distributes it sparingly by small lots to a multi -millionaire local oligarchy.The result, these are overpriced rents that make a large slice of the population simply not find accommodation decent.Over time, the combination of an artificially maintained housing crisis with an economy late for a generation and a China which is overcome with the population of the population a poorly defined but omnipresent identity crisis.And the presence of hundreds of thousands of tourists from the continent speaking Mandarin in a Cantonese city, showing their wealth and spending without counting could only remind Hong Kong that soon the only thing that would distinguish them from a China or the power wasin the hands of the Communist Party was the rule of law.
One of the shortcomings of a government that is not elected is that he is not attentive to his governed because he does not need their membership to keep himself in power.If it had been otherwise, neither the government of Beijing nor the Hong Kong authorities would have proposed, in February 2019, a law authorizing extradition to China.It was the drop that overflowed the vase.
For a large number of Hong Kongs the extradition law marked the end of the rule of law because each resident of the region was now likely to be extradited to continental China where it would be subject to the arbitrary of a legal systemIn the hands of the Communist Party.The wave of demonstration which followed the announcement of the bill was such that the authorities were forced, in July, to withdraw it but the evil was done.Coming on a substratum where the absence of social justice, blatant economic inequalities and a profound anxiety in the slow but systematic influence of the Beijing government on the region, was mixed with the final rupture between the authorities of the authorities of the authoritiesHong Kong and a large section of its population.
In the absence of any political tradition or counter-power organizing the rection took the form of a sort of semi-permanent jacquerie where peaceful manifestations, riots, ransack of metro stations, traffic blockages were mixed without counting theBag of shops whose owners were allegedly sympathizers from the central government.
A countdown that nothing will stop.
Faced with what has become a state of permanent arrhythmia, it appears that all the protagonists have a vision of the crisis of their own.For the central government in Beijing, it is the security of the regime that prevails.This being acquired, and Hong Kong no longer representing a major economic asset, it can without problem tolerate a state of permanent confusion which can only accelerate the decline of the former British colony.For the Hong Kong authorities, obviously overwhelmed by events, the essential will be to maintain a minimum of order without looking beyond.Finally for this deform amalgam that can be described as an opposition calls for "democracy" of which they have no experience relating to fabulation.Indeed Beijing will never accept the implementation in Hong Kong of a political regime on the sidelines of the Communist Party.And the fact that some demonstrators scroll by waving English or American flags can only increase the distrust with which they are considered by a Chinese population or lasts the patriotic fiber.
In 1997, the "retrocession" provided that Hong Kong would have a special regime until 2047 following which it would be integrated into an economic zone of 70 million inhabitants including Guangzhou, Shenzen and Macao.The former British colony thus saw himself grants a stay of 50 years before his absorbion by the diet in place in China.Fifty years, compared to the history of China, it is little, and it is in this case inevitable.This is what the demonstrators in Hong Kong seem to have forgotten.