Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

So Hong Kong is facing big challenges. What’s new?

So Hong Kong is facing big challenges. What’s new?

Since the 1980s alone, the city has grappled with stock and property market crashes, financial crises, protests and pandemics. The city is uniquely defined by its challenging history, where people have always managed to pick themselves up and carve out a better future.
When I first saw the button that Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu was sporting at the launch of Hong Kong’s tourism campaign, it struck me how passive and downright bland the slogan was. “Hello Hong Kong” does little to conjure up the spirit of this place and its people. I hope, for the sake of the battered tourism sector, that the free air tickets prove more motivational than the slogan.

My first impression of Hong Kong was that it was anything but bland. Just arriving in the city in the early 1990s could make you break out in a cold sweat. The flight approach at the old airport required the pilot to make a last-minute turn at about 600 feet as “Checkerboard Hill” loomed ahead.

For me, it was a memorable introduction: an unexpected thrill, accompanied by just a whiff of danger.

In the decades since I first arrived, the real Hong Kong has continued to reveal itself. I know it now as a place animated by its challenges. It rises time and again to meet them. If the past is any predictor of Hong Kong’s future, today’s problems, daunting though they seem, will be overcome.

And there is much to overcome. Few would disagree that recent years have been tough for Hong Kong.

The social unrest that culminated in the 2019 riots was followed by a wide-reaching national security law, ongoing prosecutions and sweeping electoral changes. The long-term impact of these events is still hard to predict.

Then Covid-19 descended on the city and drove years of physical separation from the world, and eventually a deadly wave of infections.

Hong Kong’s historic strength, that of an economic entrepôt between the mainland and the world, was badly dented by all these challenges. The economy is still being buffeted by weakness and uncertainty in the mainland economy. Geopolitical tensions have added to the city’s woes.

That is a lot to deal with, and rose-tinted nostalgia for a kinder and gentler past is tempting. But the “good old days” never really were. Major challenges have always characterised Hong Kong’s existence, just as they do today.

For illustration, beginning arbitrarily in the 1980s, the list of challenges Hong Kong has faced is a long one.

There was a currency crisis in 1983, then years of hand-wringing around the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that definitively sealed Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty. There was a stock market crash in 1987 and an economic setback in 1989 as events in mainland China affected Hong Kong. Significant emigration from the city in the 1990s was driven by worries over the 1997 handover.

Coinciding with the handover in 1997 was the Asian financial crisis, an attack on Hong Kong’s currency, and a local real estate crash. Then there was severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in 2003. In 2008, the city was hit by the global financial crisis. And in 2014, the future of Hong Kong drew international headlines once again with the Occupy Central protests. This event helped to precipitate the major disruptions of 2019, which still resonate today.

In the face of such constant upheaval, what drives Hong Kong and its people on? Over the decades, I’ve observed that Hong Kong is driven, at least in part, by a self-conscious insecurity about being overtaken or displaced by other economic centres, most notably Singapore and Shanghai.

Despite its considerable strengths, Hong Kong still sees itself as an underdog, even when the facts suggest otherwise. As a city of only 7.3 million people, Hong Kong does pretty well for itself in terms of global attention and impact. Despite this, the people of Hong Kong continue to try harder. They are neither smug nor complacent about their place in the world.

The constant comparisons with Singapore are illustrative. We are sometimes left with the impression that Singapore will soon overtake Hong Kong as a financial centre. Yet by most measures, Hong Kong is still way ahead. For example, Hong Kong’s stock market capitalisation is more than seven times that of Singapore’s.

Competitive paranoia certainly helps to focus minds in Hong Kong. Perhaps more importantly though, the city turns challenges into success through the talent and attitudes of its people and the new people it attracts. With virtues such as an open economy and low taxation, Hong Kong has always attracted people who have confidence in themselves and risk takers who seek a challenge.

That trend of attracting talent continues. Over half of the almost 11,000 applicants in the first two months of the Top Talent Pass Scheme being promoted are young graduates of the world’s top 100 universities. These people, like the talented generations that preceded them, are not being repelled by Hong Kong’s challenges. Rather, they are coming here for the opportunities that the challenges and dynamism of Hong Kong will bring.

In the years since I first had the thrill of landing at Kai Tak and saying my own hello to Hong Kong, I have come to understand that the city has been uniquely defined by its challenging history. The uncertainties of Hong Kong can sometimes be frightening, and positive outcomes are far from guaranteed, but time and again, Hong Kong’s people have picked themselves up and carved out a better future, for themselves and the city. I see no reason to expect that will change.
AI Disclaimer: An advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system generated the content of this page on its own. This innovative technology conducts extensive research from a variety of reliable sources, performs rigorous fact-checking and verification, cleans up and balances biased or manipulated content, and presents a minimal factual summary that is just enough yet essential for you to function as an informed and educated citizen. Please keep in mind, however, that this system is an evolving technology, and as a result, the article may contain accidental inaccuracies or errors. We urge you to help us improve our site by reporting any inaccuracies you find using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of this page. Your helpful feedback helps us improve our system and deliver more precise content. When you find an article of interest here, please look for the full and extensive coverage of this topic in traditional news sources, as they are written by professional journalists that we try to support, not replace. We appreciate your understanding and assistance.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
The driver has been described by authorities as a 21-year-old woman from Tallahassee
Joe Biden falls at the Air Force Graduation
America's Got Talent…
Elon Musk has been showered with praise by the Chinese public during his trip to China
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
Drone Attack on Moscow's Wealthiest Neighborhoods Suspected to be Launched by Ukraine
Elon Musk Meets Chinese Finance Minister in Beijing
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
Chinese fighter jet buzzes U.S. Air Force spy plane over South China Sea
Prominent Hacker Forum RaidForums Suffers Substantial Data Breach
Nvidia CEO Huang says firms, individuals without AI expertise will be left behind
WPP Revolutionizes Advertising with NVIDIA's AI Powerhouse
Two US Employees Fired For Chasing Robbers Out Of Store As They Broke ''Company Policy''
Pfizer, the EU, and disappearing ink - Smoke, Mirrors, and the Billion-Dose Pfizer Vaccine Deal: EU's 'Open Secret
The Sussexes' Royal Rebound: Could Harry and Meghan Markle Return to the UK?
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
Neuralink Receives FDA Approval for First-in-Human Clinical Study
Ukrainian Intelligence Official Admits to Assassination Attempts on Putin
WATCH THIS: democracy in Russia is so bad!
Ed Davey: It is possible for a woman to have a penis
Bernard Arnault Loses $11.2 Billion in One Day as Investors Fear Slowdown in US Growth Will Reduce Demand for Luxury Products
Russian’s Wagner Group leader: “I am not a chef, I am a butcher. Russia is in danger of a revolution like in 1917.”
TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App
Ron DeSantis Jumps Into 2024 Presidential Race, Setting Up Showdown With Trump
Steve Jobs introducing Apple's iPhone, exactly 16 years ago.
Banking Behemoth vs Ex-Boss: The PMorgan-Epstein Entanglement
China overtakes Japan as world's top car exporter
Talks between US House Republicans and President Biden's Democratic administration on raising the federal government's $31.4tn debt ceiling have paused
Biden Administration Eyeing High-Profile Visits to China: The Biden Administration is heating things up by looking into setting up a series of top-level visits to Beijing by top officials in the coming months
New evidence in special counsel probe may undercut Trump’s claim documents he took were automatically declassified
A French court of appeals confirmed former President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-year jail term for corruption and influence peddling
Debt Ceiling Crises Have Unleashed Political Chaos
Weibao Wang, a former software engineer at Apple, was charged with stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems, including self-driving cars
Mobile phone giant Vodafone to cut 11,000 jobs globally over three years as new boss says its performance not good enough
Elon Musk compares George Soros to Magneto, the supervillain from the Marvel Comics series.
Warren Buffett Sells TSMC Shares Over Concerns About Taiwan's Stability
New Study Finds That Secondary Bacterial Pneumonia Is a Major Cause of Death in COVID-19 Patients Who Require Ventilator Assistance
The official tapes of Trump's deposition in the E. Jean Carroll battery (rape) and defamation case have been released.
King Charles III being crowned.
Newly released video of Donald Trump’s rape trial deposition:
Video: Ukraine MP Punches Russian Representative At Global Meet
El Paso mayor has declared a state of emergency
Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to kill Putin
Dutch court orders man who fathered 550 kids to stop donating sperm
Kim Kardashian Lookalike Christina Ashten Dies Of Cardiac Arrest, Hours After Plastic Surgery
Samsung has banned employees from using generative AI services such as ChatGPT
'Godfather Of AI' Geoffrey Hinton Quits Google To Warn Of The Tech's Dangers
A Real woman
Vermont Man Charged with Stalking After Secretly Tracking Woman with Apple AirTag
Elon Musk Statements About Tesla Autopilot Could Be 'Deepfakes,' Lawyers Claim. Judge Evette Pennypacker Does Not Understand How Far and Advanced This Technology Became