A Glance at Hong Kong
As the “Hong Kong protests” coverage persists internationally, if not domestically, one wonders about the reasons behind the protests, and the history and economics of Hong Kong, as they relate to mainland Communist China. The BBC provides succinct but comprehensive coverage of Hong Kong’s (a former British Colony) history. The city was handed back to China in 1997 and runs under a “one country, two systems” agreement wherein the socialist system found in China would not be established in Hong Kong. The protests that began in June continue despite suspension of the extradition bill, thought to undermine independence and autonomy, that spurred the protest. Current demands include amnesty in certain instances and expanded suffrage, among other requests.
A glance at the economic profile of Hong Kong in the CIA World Fact Book might enlighten those in the West attempting to understand the context of this ongoing event. As a free market economy, Hong Kong experienced a GDP per capita of $61,500 in 2017, and placed 18th in the world economy, one place ahead of the United States. The economy relies upon global trade that amounts to four times GDP and tourism from the mainland in addition to its position as a global financial leader. As of 2015, 66% of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s market capitalization was comprised of mainland Chinese firms seeking to list for overseas trade. Extensive financial cooperative structures spur integration with mainland China with respect to finance and banking and a further opening of the mainland’s capital markets. According to the World Bank’s Hong Kong statistics, life expectancy rose steadily from 1960 to 2017, income is ranked in the “High Income” level and the “human capital” index of .82 is among the highest in the world.