Hong Kong

On 1 July 1997, China realised her long-standing ambition of regaining sovereignty over Hong Kong and the world waited to see how the last great Communist power would cope with the task of governing a society whose very existence depended upon its vibrantly capitalist nature. Would the Chinese leadership be provoked into crushing the entrepreneurial instincts which had made their new possession one of the wealthiest places on earth? Could men whose whole lives had been dedicated to rising through a totalitarian bureaucracy distinguished by ruthlessness and corruption even comprehend the principles of the rule of law and free speech? Or would Hong Kong itself infect its new host body with the virus of capitalism and freedom, accelerating the economic changes already underway in China?

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