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Stefano Mariani
Stefano Mariani
Stefano Mariani is a tax lawyer practising in Hong Kong. He has written widely on Hong Kong and international taxation, and is a part-time lecturer at Hong Kong University. A member of the Royal Asiatic Society, his academic interests include East Asian history, culture, and identity.

Hong Kong was ceded by the Qing Empire to the British Empire as a consequence of war, but then the Manchus came to power in China by force of arms. When regimes erase vestiges of vanquished foes, the sum of human knowledge is poorer for it.

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Claiming there are structural barriers and trying to rectify them through affirmative action assumes that, in the absence of such barriers, ability would be evenly distributed across groups. Moreover, the policy seeks to redress an injustice to one group by penalising another.

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If European nations could overcome their historical differences and cooperate under the banner of a common continental identity, East Asian countries can, too. A pan-Asian union would be an effective counterpoint to US influence in the region.

Hong Kong is uniquely placed to take a balanced approach to history that faces the contradictions of the past and questions dominant narratives.

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Hong Kong’s Eurasian population is the natural outcome of a port city in Asia that was a colony for European empire, and this population has made lasting contributions to the city’s history, society and culture. Why, then, does Hong Kong not extend the same recognition to its Eurasian population that Singapore does?

A proposal to return the duty on inheritance to 8 per cent – instead of its current zero – would be an important step in reversing the concentration of wealth into fewer hands.

Hongkongers have not made the connection between the city’s ‘low and simple’ tax regime and its housing, retirement protection and infrastructure problems.