Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hong Kong 23 Years Later

On our way to Kathmandu, Ann and I had a 12 hour layover in Hong Kong.  Both of us had been here on the way to Beijing in 1988 when I negotiated the permit and costs for our subsequently successful expedition to the North Ridge of K2 in 1990.  In 1988 Hong Kong was still a British colony, but in 1997 it reverted to Chinese rule.  It was interesting to see how it had changed now that it was run by a communist government.  It appears to have become even more capitalistic now than before!  The underground subway stations were filled with upscale western retail stores, and religious banners were allowed.
Modern Subway Station

When the British left, the Chinese government implemented a principle of "one country, two systems" whereby Hong Kong has a different political system than mainland China.  It stipulates that Hong Kong have a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign relations and defense.

Religious Expression is Allowed
With this lack of interference, Hong Kong has remained as one of the worlds leading financial centers with its own currency the Hong Kong Dollar.  It is also one of the most densely populated areas in the world with the resources to construct an abundance of high rises to accommodate everyone, as well as extensive subway and highway transportation systems, modern port facilities, and a new airport.  There is obviously a lot of money here and it seems that practicality won out over ideology - the Chinese obviously did not want to bite the hand that feeds it.

Lots of construction in a Global Economic Downturn

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