A former Chinese official declares that Hong Kong and Shanghai should build a common capital market with lots of partnership, cooperation, win-win and serving the nation.
A quick reminder about these two cities. One has a free flow of capital (and a proper legal system, free flow of information), while the other doesn’t. And in one, financial services are private-sector and market-based, while in the other, the function is largely state-run. How do the two ‘join forces’? Why is this guy even saying this stuff?
Another ex-official from the Mainland announces with a straight face that Beijing should extend Hong Kong’s economic system across the whole of the Greater Bay Area. This would require an international-style border separating the Pearl River Delta from the rest of China, and it would entail customs and probably currency union between the PRD and Hong Kong. It would split the PRD from China more than it would integrate Hong Kong into the Mainland. It would be a visionary, epic reformist move. And obviously – not going to happen.
(By the way: have you ever heard of a communist dictatorship with a freely convertible currency?)
Back in reality, the trend is for the CCP to tighten control over Hong Kong rather than relax it anywhere else. The AFP correspondent looks back at the last few years. Here’s a neat summary of how Beijing is systematically turning Hong Kong’s legislature into a rubber-stamp. Meanwhile the supposedly impartial civil service performs absurdist comedy to inveigle Eddie Chu Hoi-dick into expressing a personal opinion that would bar him from the ballot, loosely inspired by Franz Kafka and starring Ronny Tong as the tragic, cringe-making poodle-weasel-stooge (latest here).
To put it all into context, I declare the weekend open with the thoughts of George Magnus on how the West’s great minds, after being rather slow on the uptake, are finally working out that this is different…
Xi’s China functions according to a governance system which is a throwback to decades ago before Deng. Yet China is more modern/complex and has economic and commercial aspirations that are of the future. A major contradiction.