…to test everyone’s paywall-avoidance skills.
Back in the 1980s, the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps imagining that the richest people in Hong Kong created rather than skimmed off the city’s wealth, co-opted the property moguls as a local support base. We sometimes hear that Beijing now feels the Hong Kong plutocrats’ role in fostering social discontent makes them more trouble than they are worth – which supposedly accounts for Mainland giants usurping them in (say) land auctions.
But their public and private rent-seeking holdings continue to leech billions out of the productive economy, thanks to Hong Kong government efforts to push up housing prices, flood the city with tourists, splurge on white-elephant infrastructure projects, and other cronyism. (Well, whaddya know?) There’s no sign that this will end when the old tycoons die – assuming they ever do.
A New York Times op-ed poses the question of whether Hong Kong is really a part of China. Various pedants and naifs who read the column literally will object to it on historical, constitutional or simply logical grounds (though few twist and falsify history as energetically as the CCP). But this misses the point – the writer is mischievously endorsing the localists’ position that Chinese sovereignty is incompatible with Hong Kong people’s rights and freedoms. (See also the comment by ‘Sifu628’ on how the older pro-dems’ faith in Beijing was betrayed.)
By ‘mischievously’ I mean the article is exquisitely, wickedly designed to go down like a cup of cold sick and send all the right people ballistic.