Comrades & Capitalists: Hong Kong since the Handover

Comrades & Capitalists: Hong Kong since the Handover

Comrades & Capitalists: Hong Kong since the Handover

Comrades & Capitalists: Hong Kong since the Handover


When Hong Kong was handed back to China on 1st July 1997 few suspected that capitalism, not communism, would generate the most anxiety during the months ahead. But human rights, democracy and the rule of law remained contentious issues, and resurfaced dramatically when Hong Kong voted on May 1998.


I first came to Hong Kong in 1978, on the last leg of a $20-aday world tour. I was enthralled. Over the next decade, I stayed every year with friends on my way back from Papua New Guinea to England for leave. When the Australian Financial Review's then editor-in-chief discussed an overseas posting, he asked me which would most interest me. There could be no doubt, especially as the handover to China loomed.

Covering China, which I visit often, has helped immensely in my effort to get to grips with its newest and most exciting city. the handover generated a whole publishing industry. Some of the results still stand up well, others were helpful products in their day but have now time-expired, and yet more, especially those predicting Marxist mayhem, were proven simply wrong. This book tells the early story of Chinese Hong Kong, of its transition since the handover and its economic and environmental challenges.

In the heat of the moment, journalists inevitably make mistakes and wrong calls. I'm not immune to that. But on 30 June 1997 my front-page story on Hong Kong in the Australian Financial Review began: 'The new Government of Hong Kong will be confronted, early in its term, with its first big challenge: a significant fall in HK's rampant, interlocked share and property markets.' the People's Liberation Army turned into pussy cats, while the market bears caused untold damage.

Hong Kong is a great city in a country now stutteringly reaching again for its former greatness. Its story has always been . . .

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