Since the handover, Hong Kong has remained a real success story
On this 20th anniversary of the handover, many people have been focusing on the shortcomings, while the achievements seem to be perishing in the collective memory.
While one cannot live in the past, reminiscing about what makes this city still a leader among peers might be the best start to ensure a sustainable way forward, though it is fair to question to what extent the rewards of Hong Kong’s rise to a revered economic powerhouse have been shared among its population.
A shining example of a free market, Hong Kong enjoys a welfare system that you do not see in many other places; some governments struggle to pay their own public servants.
To start with, there is comprehensive health care (at a minimal cost), propelling the population to enjoy among the highest life expectancies in the world. Then there are 12 years of free education and an effort to put the city’s universities among the top-ranked ones worldwide.
Few local graduates face unemployment, with the jobless rate among them being uncommonly low, and this inevitably boosts their starting salaries.
Another unrivalled feature of this region is its infrastructure, namely the transportation system that allows you to get anywhere at a fair cost – that is really all you need.
Moreover, you can feel reassuringly safe even in the darkest parts of the city.
In this instance, aside from an untainted rule of law in Hong Kong, due appreciation must be given to China’s foreign policy of non-interference, which has shielded the nation from being subjected to the global plague of terrorism.
Hong Kong, with its remarkable urban and rural landscape, and famed for its buoyant diversity, continues to attract investors and talented people from all parts of the world.
Also, the rags to riches stories of the city’s tycoons illustrate the opportunities that exist in Hong Kong for those who are willing to be adventurous and daring.
Looking back over the last 20 years, this has indeed been quite a successful journey, accomplished by harnessing the best of the people of Hong Kong and adhering to its core principle, “one country, two systems”.
Granted, there are still many problems that need to be resolved. However the Hong Kong community must find a way to work together, as the constant bickering we have lately witnessed threatens the very foundations of this special administrative region.
Jose Alvares, Macau