Published May 22, 2020
This unique hybrid citizenship was always bound to be unstable so long as China remained an authoritarian, one-party state. Hong Kong’s wealth and freedom were always an implicit repudiation of the Communist Party’s aspirations. If Hong Kongers could benefit without the party’s control, why couldn’t the rest of China? Conversely, for Hong Kong citizens, if they could prosper without direct Chinese rule, why not go all the way and become a Western-style democracy like Taiwan — culturally Chinese with a Western-style political economy? The conflict was clear to anyone following this gambit: Either China had to become more like Hong Kong, or Hong Kong had to become more like China.
Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.