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China Unveils Plan to Tie Hong Kong, Macau Closer to Mainland (bloomberg.com)
151 points by virtualwhys 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments

Here's an interactive map of the growing Pearl River Delta megalopolis: https://geoshen.com/posts/the-pearl-river-delta-megalopolis

>The PRD megalopolis is an urban area of gargantuan proportions with few like it in existance.

>It's home to 65 million people, a population similar to that of the United Kingdom.

>It covers an area around 55,000 km^2, about the size of the country of Croatia.

>The GDP of the PRD megalopolis clocks in at over $1.2 trillion, about the same as Mexico.

Well damn, I live in Croatia, can't even make a mental image of that amount of people. For comparison its the same area size as New York state with over 3x the population.

To be fair, NY state is large and sparsely populated. The NY Metro area is much smaller and more dense but includes parts of several states.

The NY Metropolitan Statistical Area is 20.3 million residents in 17,405 km2, according to Wikipedia.

So the PRD is basically three NY metro areas.

Minor note: Wikipedia says that the size of New York state is 141,300km² (54,555 sq mi), so New York is almost thrice the size with less than one third of the population.

And Croatia's town (like Split) leaves impression like a really crowded place. At least for me as person from North Europe country.

You can't really take the one of the most visited and touristy places in Croatia and consider it the average.

By comparison the largest city Zagreb of about a million people, which is a quarter of the entire population, has the density of 1300 people per km2, that's about 1/3 or 1/4 of the pop. density of Berlin or Stockholm.

Compared to Norway which is the least populated country on the continent, Croatia has the same population in 20% of the space.

But it's not just tourists. I had an internship at the uni in Split, and that thing has like 10 floors.

That's because of atrocious urban planning. Traditional Mediterranean streets were never meant for cars. Municipal governments, instead of having a clear strategy where historic city centers are preserved and everything else is bulldozed to make room for proper, modern urban design have instead opted to have no plan whatsoever. As a consequence, there is now nowhere to park, the streets are hard to navigate (even for locals) and things like sidewalks and bike lanes are pure fantasy in many of Croatia's coastal cities.

Car oriented cities are a bad idea.

Very interesting article, thanks!

I heard from a Chinese legal academic that when China is diplomatically isolated, the two provinces tend to be left alone to enjoy the benefits of their independent foreign ties. When China is more politically feeling comfortable, that is when the pressure for conformity tends to come from Beijing.

The opposite seems to be true right now. China's relations with the West are a bit strained at the moment.

The relationship looks tense, but Chinese leadership seems to feel that they have everything under control; like this particular kerfuffle is an unavoidable step on their march toward becoming a superpower. I would be comfortable if I were seeing the world that way, too.

Indeed, Beijing's leadership tends to take a very long term view of growth plans. This lines up with my mental model of how they operate.

This is a bit more of a meme than truth

Are you saying that the concept of the hundred year marathon is a meme?

That's unavoidable actually. Basically US just begins to treat China as an eligible opponent.

There were never "friendly" relationships between two superpowers in history if I remember correctly.

There were, up to a point. France and the UK carved up several continents without much tension, after 1850 or so.

Provided that China becomes less authoritarian and the US doesn't do something stupid, it's not impossible for both to coexist, while still competing.

It took a thousand years for Franco-British relations to settle to peaceful tolerance, then the Entente Cordiale. I can't, for example, imagine calls for a China-US union like Franco-British Union was seriously suggested twice in the 20th century.

The second time might have been interesting for world history, as the French PM proposed it before France decided to join the Treaty of Rome nations to bootstrap the EU.

The US doesn't care about authoritarianism. They're friendly with plenty of authoritarian states. The issue is that China is pursuing an independent foreign policy instead of following America's lead.

"The issue is that China is pursuing an independent foreign policy instead of following America's lead."

The issue is mostly China grabbing international waters like the S. China Sea as sovereign territory, grabbing Taiwan, pressuring Japan and neighbouring states, and building what will eventually be a string of military bases throughout East and South Asian oceans.

The US, in comparison, makes sure that everyone - including adversaries like China, Russia and Iran - can navigate the Suez, the Panama Canal, Red Sea, Arab/Persian Gulf, S. China Sea, Straits of Taiwan etc.

There would be zero problems, and US Navy presence in Asia would be minimal if China wasn't trying to hustle this outside it's borders.

And FYI Americans do care about authoritarianism, and there is constant pressure on places like Saudi to reform (and FYI there are steady reforms), though yes, it's very secondary.

The paradox is that China is pursuing a macho 'we're the local king' strategy much like Russia, when for it's own benefit, the military escapades are not fruitful. Maybe in China's case there are some advantages, though almost none in the case of Russia.

The new Belt-and-Road strategy is an example of a good project that will have immensely positive results for most players - shenanigans aside. Nobody is against any of this, we are all for it, except for the shifty things like debt-traps to grab ownerships of ports, which will eventually be Chinese navy bases.

China will continue to pursue the authoritarian entrapment of the citizens of HK and Macau, and of course Taiwan, which isn't good for anyone really.

>>> The US, in comparison, makes sure that everyone - including adversaries like China, Russia and Iran - can navigate the Suez, the Panama Canal, Red Sea, Arab/Persian Gulf, S. China Sea, Straits of Taiwan etc.

Right now they do. But if conflict breaks out between China and the US you can guarantee the US will use its navy to block all trade with China. This puts China in a very vulnerable position, which is why they're willing to risk upsetting neighbours by aggressively pursuing bases in the South China Sea (as well as the Belt and Road project).

>>> There would be zero problems, and US Navy presence in Asia would be minimal if China wasn't trying to hustle this outside it's borders.

Why do you think that?

>>> China will continue to pursue the authoritarian entrapment of the citizens of HK and Macau, and of course Taiwan, which isn't good for anyone really.

My wife is Taiwanese so I understand the situation pretty well. I just think it's a mistake to put this down to ideology or democracy versus authorianism. It's just two states vying for power, the same thing that's been going since forever.

It’s also not that impossible to imagine both being peer stakeholders in a renewed liberal trade order, ala US + EU.

And yet the US/EU relationship is at an all time low.

I would say that this depends on your perspective. While Trump likes to talk bad about the EU, NATO and FVEY members, our military, intelligence and economic cooperation is still VERY strong. And I see no indication of this changing, outside of the rhetoric coming out of the White House. Our Allies know that pulling out of Syria via Twitter was not a decision that came from the Pentagon.

Why would China become less authoritarian? They can continue to grow and gain power without doing so.

The US and the British Empire in first half of the 20th century (until the dissolution of the empire) might be an example

Well, the US Army did regard the UK as a potential enemy before WW2:


Even then, they had pretty detailed plans worked out for many, many scenarios. It doesn't mean they weren't co-existing well or that anyone thought it was likely. Making a plan is so inexpensive compared to the cost of responding to some event without a well-laid-plan, that having a plan is hardly what I would call regarding them as a potential enemy.

That's because the US (by this point) indisputably claimed one third of the world (The Monroe doctrine), whereas the UK was at the time more focused on being on the winning side of the European alliance system, then on making claims on American colonies. (Because it was afraid of an ascendant Germany. Fear of Germany was also the biggest driver for entering into an alliance with France.)

In the inter-war years, the UK was no longer concerned with Germany, but, due to the Great Depression, was also too damn broke to go on international adventures. The same situation played out in the US.

The only reason the two powers are now aligned, is because the United States started seeing communism, as opposed to European colonialism[1] as its biggest threat.

The moral of this story is that superpowers can have friendly relationships when they have a common enemy, or no conflicting goals.

An obvious question, here is - what are the conflicting goals of China, and the United States? The answer is - influence among China's neighbours. If the US was not interested in maintaining it, there would be no conflict.

[1] In the 19th century, European colonialism was a threat to American colonialism. In the 20th century, the American empire has resisted de-colonization a lot better then European powers did.

You misunderstand the Monroe Doctrine. It was a policy of anti-colonialism in Latin America, supporting independent states free from European rule.


You misunderstand the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine.

The optics of it were anti-colonial. The implementation of it was absolutely colonial. This is one of the many baffling contradictions of America.

Central and South American states were only allowed to be independent of European rule. They were, and continue to, be client states of Washington. When they forget this, they get regime-changed.

America's 19th and 20th century adventures in Hawaii, the Philippines, Samoa, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the annexation of Mexico's territories, and deportation and repression of native Americans were all colonial power grabs - and all performed under the aegis of the Monroe Doctrine.

This is the fundamental difference between the British Empire of yesteryear, and the American empire of today. The British public was never confused as to whether or not it was at the head of a globe-spanning empire.


>Secondly, even if Trump followed through on his blusters, China is well aware that following through on them is also costly to the U.S. and even to Trump's base (e.g. soy farmers), so they can discount the risk considerably.

What are you even talking about? Trump imposed hefty tariffs on Chinese goods a year ago. US Soy exports to China, previously their biggest market, also collapsed last year after being hit with 20% tariffs last summer[0]. According to some estimates, they fell by 98%[1]. They have resumed some small scale purchases, but that's mainly due to a lull in the Brazilian growing cycle. What you think will never happen, already did over the last 12 months.



I didn't said it would never happen, just that China has enough leverage to stand their ground. Which is exactly what happened. Indeed, reports from the end of January are that the U.S. is floating lifting all tariffs for the remainder of negotiations. Are we supposed to believe that such a move would be merciful? (Remember, my original point was that China has no reason to feel isolated or threatened.)

Most people assume that China needs the U.S. market more than the U.S. needs the Chinese market. But that thinking is about 15 years out of date. The reality is that exports as a percentage of GDP have plummeted in China from a high of 36% to about 18%:

Whereas exports as a percentage of GDP in the U.S. have been steadily increasing and are at about 10% now. (Also, less than 1/5 of Chinese exports go to the U.S., so their exposure to U.S. import tariffs is <4% of their GDP.) The critical point is that the Chinese trajectory is down and they want a more consumer driven domestic economy. (People on HN in particular should appreciate why trajectory matters.) All of these things combined mean that China is negotiating with the U.S. from a position of strength. Not necessarily stronger than the U.S., but also not weaker. Our posturing and our aggressive negotiating tactics simply make us look naive.

Many of the concessions China has made and will make are changes that were inevitable. And this is why previous administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, avoided the populist politicking of the current administration--it would require expending considerable American good will for de minimis benefit. The China "problem" was already well on its way to fixing itself. The cold, hard truth, though is that there aren't any great ways to improve America's domestic low-skill manufacturing base without losing elsewhere (i.e. farming exports, high-margin service exports, or cheap imports that subsidize our standard of living). The China problem will simply become the Vietnam problem, the Myanmar problem, ad naseum, and as the U.S. economy continues to shrink relative to the global economy, we have less and less power to extract concessions that allow us to avoid coming to terms with our real domestic issues.

Another cold, hard truth is that our deficit spending is the flip side to our current account deficit. China comprehends that at least as well as we do, and apparently much better than advocates of the recent tax reform measure which exploded our deficits.[1] That provides yet more leverage for China. All the bluster in the world can't surmount economic fundamentals, as every populist demagogue (like Hugo Chavez) eventually discovers. But reality doesn't prevent demagogues from selling the public fantasies about geopolitical "wins" or from hiding behind manufactured excuses.

[1] And lest you think I'm partisan, I also think single-payer healthcare is fiscal suicide. If we can't make Obamacare work (politically, fiscally) then there's zero chance we can make single-payer work. (I do think Obamacare is salvageable if we tried, but in any event it's already at the outer edge of what's feasible as a practical matter.)

> Firstly, nobody in the international community takes Trump at his word (he's a notorious liar who also follows a wholly transparent negotiating playbook, one that he's spent decades advertising).

There is a theory that the Sun clan's "art of war" was intentionally disseminated among its enemies, to make them more willing to yield to negotiations, and make their maneuvers more systematised, and predictable at war.

Strategists of Suns, on the other side, were well known for trickery, and unconventional maneuvers.

If it is so, "the art of war" is one the most brilliant piece of disinformation ever written.

Could we get some sources for this theory? I'm definitely no military expert but having read it, I don't really see how it encourages a more predictable and exploitable style of warfare. Plus the fact that people read and praise it in the modern day suggest it is truly useful.

That doesn't make much sense since hong kong and macau were only returned to china within the last 20 years give or take. And in that time, china has never been diplomatically isolated.

Well the Hong Kong autonomy expires in 2047

It would be negligent not to continually manage and revise the plans as the economies change.

It would be stranger to know that you are legally obligated to annex and support a neighboring economic powerhouse with a totally parallel incompatible culture that was ignored or isolated for 50 years. Instead, Mainland China has become less and less aligned with Marx’s teachings, and Hong Kong has become more and more aligned with the rest of the bay area economic regions.

The whole idea is not sending hker to hell of communists. The struggle of hongkonger for basic human rights are getting worse and worse. Not sure why you get this idea.

CCP propaganda is strong - that's why.

Look at the language used "return" - people still think HK was leased. It wasn't - the New Territories were.

People don't care about HK people. I wish they did but no one does.

At least Tibet has some awareness surrounding it in the West - HK just got hung out to dry.

Of all the colonies from which British rule was removed, only HK got handed over to the thugs, thieves and torturers its population had previously escaped.

Everyone else got independence. HKers didn't even get UK passports.

> Look at the language used "return" - people still think HK was leased. It wasn't - the New Territories were.

And most of Kowloon. As opposed to HK Island, which was obtained by legitimate conquest, I suppose?

> Of all the colonies from which British rule was removed, only HK got handed over to the thugs, thieves and torturers its population had previously escaped.

What realistic alternative would you have suggested to Thatcher at the time?

> What realistic alternative would you have suggested to Thatcher at the time?

Oh that's easy. Give every HKer a full British passport instead of creating an entirely new category of nationality, where they were still British Nationals, but not British Citizens. Then let in a token few thousand. Unforgivable.

Would have given HKers a free choice, and done wonders for the UK economy.

Not easy at all, good luck getting it accepted by both the UK parliament and by Deng Xiaoping. People have this notion that the UK could do whatever they wanted in HK before 1997 (or at least before the negotiations with the PRC in the 1980s). But recently declassified documents revealed that the PRC was already pressuring the UK about HK affairs back in the 1950s.

They weakened status well before the joint agreement. Yet right after Tiananmen Square, and after the joint agreement, they managed to rapidly dream up a selection of 50k families, so they were also far from powerless to act without Deng Xiaoping's approval. Thousands of HKers were leaving after Tiananmen, to anywhere that would take them, so it's not like it would have deprived China of those citizens after 97 handover.

There's a big difference between accepting 50k and 5million people, on both the British and the Chinese side.

50k families is more like 200k–300k people.

> The whole idea is not sending hker to hell of communists. The struggle of hongkonger for basic human rights are getting worse and worse. Not sure why you get this idea.

I mean, was that ever an option? So I have zero chips in this game and it is plainly obvious to me from 8,000 miles away that the writing has been on the wall since 1997: Hong Kong has autonomy for 50 years.

The various protests are just to ensure that autonomy and mainland interference... until 2047.

These are agreements that have been upheld by the international community, and Hong Kong and mainland China (with evidence of growing propaganda to align HK interests with the CCP). But real interference from mainland China before this agreement ends would be an invasion of which there is no chance of winning or gaining defense from, and they have never done that and upheld the agreement.

I wish to be empathic, as I can see the strong Hong Kong sovereign identity and the people's investment in that, but there's no outcome where that lasts past 2047, barring a new agreement, and there are outcomes where both regions align closer to ideologies.

My understanding is that Hong Kong's autonomy lasts till 2047, but the Basic Law constitution has no expiration date. There is just no framework for the Basic Law to have any weight after being absorbed back into the CCP's umbrella and supreme (but arbitrary) rule of law.

Maybe within Hong Kong it feels different as if there is a chance, but that's an echo chamber. If you want to avoid being absorbed into mainland China then you have to leave like EVERY OTHER Cantonese speaking community has done in waves for the last 200 years.

There is just not a history to support Hong Kong being an exception, it is just tolerated, for now.

Scary from an investment perspective. Imagine having property rights under Hong Kong law transitioned to the lawlessness of Beijing.

This has been true going all the way back to before the handover was announced. Imagine having property rights under the United Kingdom and no clear transition plan in the mid 90s? This has been the reality in Hong Kong for a generation. I'm very curious to see how this evolves as we move forward.

So, we in the UK have a history of not having clear transition plans.

And a future too apparently...

Well so far it's been good for HK owners because it allows mainland Chinese to stash their capital in HK.

Less good for average HKers though...

Our property is the most expensive in the world so it's clearly not bothering investors yet.

Won't make any difference. They are not stupid.

To play devils advocate, Hong Kong has become comparatively much less valuable to Beijing over the years. It represented 27% of all of China's GDP in 1993, and today it's less than 3%. [1] Beijing has become more forceful in its treatment of HK of late, with for instance, staffing the high-speed rail station in Kowloon with China Police (forbidden under basic law). I think what happens next is unclear. Is it still worth the trouble?

It's not like the UK (which is, to date, responsible for enforcing the terms of the handover) can do anything more than write a strongly worded memo to Beijing. Like they did when those booksellers disappeared [2] or when the Chinese billionaire living in the Four Seasons on the island 'returned to seek medical treatment on the mainland' [3].

[1] http://www.ejinsight.com/20170609-hk-versus-china-gdp-a-sobe...

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/03/magazine/the-case-of-hong...

[3] https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/02/01/chinese-billionaire-ab...

Well, of course as the mainland develops Hongkong loses its relative weight. This was expected and unavoidable. Let's not forget that Hongkong was boosted in the first place by people and companies fleeing the communists, but the historical hub was Shanghai.

This does not change anything to my previous comment, though.

> It's not like the UK...

I think the West must understand that colonial times are over. This is a Chinese internal issue.

Maybe there's some misunderstanding.

The top-level comment was about the introduction of uncertainty transitioning (early) from the SAR model to a provincial model. I took your reply as saying "nothing's going to change for investors because Beijing isn't stupid" -- I agree, Beijing is far from stupid. I'm actually agreeing with you in another comment where I point out 'uncertainty around the handover' has been something investors have lived with for a generation, and this won't change any time soon.

I would also say in spite of the fact there's an international referee looking over this, they're totally unable to do anything, so for better or worse, it is effectively an internal matter now.

IMO, however, a better model of Hong Kong is that it remains a colony as it has (almost) always been, what changed in 1997 is whose colony.

My devils advocate comment was to say that as the UK is totally powerless (and much of the rest of the international community with it) and Beijing's more forceful stance on the SARs of late, that they may just cut off the SAR model entirely. Who's going to stop them? As you say, it's an internal matter.

Sounds like an accurate summary to me. Whatever China chooses to do with Hong Kong, the UK and others have little influence. As you say the Foreign Office can send a memo. Chris Patten may have been deeply disappointed at London hadn't objected more, but that would have realistically changed nothing.

So practically speaking it effectively is internal. Whatever that document might say.

The clearest mistake, to my mind, of the whole handover was Thatcher being unwilling to grant passports for all.

Yes, granting passport would have changed a LOT of things not only between the UK, China and HK, but in the world I think.

So reneging on an international treaty is OK now? Doesn't inspire confidence that a transition won't make a difference.

It will be a Chinese internal issue after the expiry of the agreed period in 2047.


The Sino-British Joint Declaration declared Hong Kong's way of life would be left alone until 2047. Signed by both leaders on behalf of their governments, and lodged with the UN.

China treating it as void does not change that.

Nothing racist about making that observation.


Can you explain what is racist about this? As a native Hong Konger, I'm really interested to hear your take as it's obvious we have completely different views on this.

Wasn't the historical hub Guangzhou? (Canton)

That's where foreign powers had to go to conduct trade.

Honest question for someone who doesn't know the area well..

Macau and HK are both Cantonese speaking regions. Given that the Infrastructure updates in the area make everything "closer" (in terms of travel time etc), what impact is this having on language?

Is this a Montreal type thing where most people are bilingual enough where it doesn't matter? Is Cantonese a de-facto street language in these South Chinese cities even if Mandarin is the official language?

We have an existing example to extrapolate from. Cantonese is the native dialect in Guangzhou and it's fading away in the current generation of children in no small part because of government pressure in schools. It's likely that something similar will happen in Macau and HK.


I'm not terribly familiar with that area but I know a bit about Chinese languages. HK and Macau are adjacent to Guangdong which is a Cantonese speaking province. There are many dialects within Cantonese, so someone from Taishan will speak a dialect of Cantonese that will probably be mutually intelligible with HK Cantonese but probably also has lots of major differences. I found a cool map of them on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yue_Chinese#Distribution_and_v...

From what I know, as education improves and movement of people across large areas increases Mandarin becomes more and more common. As for movement within a Cantonese speaking area, I would guess that it might result in the adoption of a more common "standard" Cantonese over regional dialects in parallel with the increasing prevalence of Mandarin.

People originally from that region speak Cantonese, but from what I understand most people in Shenzhen are immigrants from elsewhere in China, and predominantly speak Mandarin.

The Cantonese dialect originally came from the Guangdong/Guangzhou area (Guangdong was originally pronounced Canton, hence the name Cantonese), Hong Kong was originally a fishing village of ~7000 people (so was Shenzhen 40 years ago) before becoming a colony so the language won't disappear.

People from Shenzhen speak Cantonese as well and Shenzhen is already connected to Hong Kong by subway. This Greater Bay Area is really just making something that was more unofficial official. Shenzhen is part of Guangdong province while Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong is also about 45 minutes by train from Hong Kong. The Greater Bay Area is really more about making it more official that Hong Kong is related as a group with Guangdong.

watch Ten years (2015) anthology scifi (?) movie about Hong Kong, in one of the stories (Dialect) it's quite realistically foreshadowing what's gonna happen with languages in HK

I wonder if the mainland will ever force either of the 2 ex-colonies to convert into using the "right hand road" orientation? That would be an interesting experiment.

As long as they do it incrementally it should be fine. For the first week only transition motorcycles to drive on the other side, then the week after the cars, then a week later transition the trucks and heavy vehicles to the other side...

That surely is an optimal way to transition them all to the Other Side, and fast.

There is no better way to deliver humour than with a straight face. Well done, sir!

Oh, so Bangalore rules.

Hopefully not, with any luck they learnt from the last time they tried this [1]. Besides, it's basically a free-for-all at times outside the major cities anyway.

Additionally, in reality it's not that great a problem - see the UK's connection to the Continent. I guess if the New Territories ever get fully absorbed back into the Mainland, then the border delineation might be tempting to erase and that'll cause problems.

edit: That said, Japan has pulled it off before [2]

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_the_road_in_China#Dri... [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/730_(transport)

Sweden did exactly that in 1967.

As well as the fact that their neighbours drove on the right, the argument was made that switching sides would reduce accidents due to Swedes mostly owning left-hand drive cars. There were fewer accidents initially, but things returned to historic levels pretty soon thereafter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagen_H

Samoa did the opposite in 2009. The main reason was to have easier access to the (relatively) nearby Australian vehicle market.

Not sure if it's ever practical to do so -- a lot of the built up infrastructure here is asymmetrical.

Why would they want to do that? I would bet lots of people will revolt, forcing them to drive on the wrong side of the road.

Driving rates are pretty low in HK and Macau because the cost of car ownership is so high (namely, the cost of a parking space) and public transit/taxis are so good. So I don’t think you’d get much pushback from actual drivers.

Private car drivers don't have votes anyway so even if there's pushback the governments don't care.

The taxis, logistics and trucking industries do have political clout, though, and they will be the ones pushing back.

Logistics and trucking involve a lot of cross border trips. I don't know that they would mind all that much.

It messes with their established routes with no gain (as you said they already make cross border trips without issue.)

Despite this, the roads are an overcrowded nightmare (Hong Kong specifically, haven't driven in Macau) where no one really follows the existing rules terribly well. I have no doubt what so ever such a move would result in chaos and fatalities.

Are you really sure???!!! HK has like one of world's most ridiculous car culture...

>So I don’t think you’d get much pushback from actual drivers.

At this rate, they might as well force all the people in HK to Speak Mandarin, Write in Simplified Chinese. Or get rid of them all together if they don't comply. Oh there is a word for it, Genocide.

Interestingly the plan mandates the use of IPv6 pretty much everywhere, as well as FTTH to all homes in all cities across the PRD. It doesn't give the reason why these specific technologies are mentioned in what's meant to be a strategic plan though.

Too bad everyday citizens and businesses can't access the services they want with it, most of the bandwidth will probably be used for surveillance and control.

They actually can. IPv6 support was recently enabled by many ISPs, online services and mobile applications.

I don't see anything that implies extending the Great Firewall to cover the SARs, so fingers crossed on that one.

FWIW I already have 1Gbps FTTH dual-stack Internet at home here in HK.

I would bet the reason it was mentioned was to make China sound technologically advanced. Similar to when they spread the lie about being a leader in green technology around when the Olympics were hosted there. They established faux solar panels on street lights and then took them back down 2 years later. There's no reason to believe China about that detail or anything really.

The headline is a little alarmist. I read the plan and the plan completely acknowledges the one country, two systems principle.

Choosing who is allowed to run for government doesn't really acknowledge the two system principle.

That really doesn’t carry a lot of weight. I suggest you read up on the past 20 years of Hong Kong Mainland relations, in particular the undermining of judicial independence, and other civil and political rights.

Here’s a primer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong%E2%80%93Mainland_Chi...

I suppose it's just simple math that multiple Bay Areas > Bay Area.

Sad date of hk.


OBOR may be an overextension, or it may not, it's definitely too early to say. It is definitely ambitious -- and a big risk. More broadly, China just opened its first overseas base (ever, but specifically in Djibouti [1]) so the phase of growth and expansion happening right now is about more than just OBOR. Don't write them off just yet.

What if Hong Kong doesn't want to set up a financing platform for OBOR? I don't understand. You don't think Beijing can find a bank like HSBC, Standard Chartered or Bank of China (Hong Kong) to originate/administer the loans? For now at least, HK remains a rule-of-law jurisdiction with all the freedoms you enjoy. They do walk a narrow path, and upsetting Beijing isn't top of their to-do list.

What do you mean "becoming a fascist capitalistic country"? Have you not been following along after the cultural revolution? :)

[1] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/china-opens-overseas-...

It seems China proper has over-extended itself with the BRI and is going to use Hong Kong resources now... The rest of the objectives just seem contrived.

Yes they are. Got 100 billion dollars reserve to get. As regards water hker paid more than Israel getting theirs. Abd most foods try to get non-chinese if they can.

What makes the BRI an over-extension? How does it compare to the economic and military extension of the other super-power?

Not only do you have BRI but massive internment camps, massively expensive surveillance systems, massive number of police officers, expensive great firewall. Look China is at war. It's just at war internally and spending a lot of money on it. This internal war is likely more expensive then USA's many foriegn misadventures. Thus China needs to go to Hong Kong to use their money and connections. China has no choice.

> China proper has over-extended itself with the BRI

Unsubstantiated conjecture. Only time and history will tell. It is quite likely that the long-term strategic benefits to China will be (to use your favourite word) massive. Witness the outcomes of the Marshall Plan for a direct historical analogue.

> massive internment camps

A mainstream media falsehood one would be wise not to parrot: https://off-guardian.org/2018/09/19/no-the-un-did-not-report...

> massively expensive surveillance systems

Given the Snowden revelations it is clear that China is unexceptional in this regard. Also, source for "massively expensive". Define "massively".

> massive number of police officers

Source for this claim? Define "massive". But even if they were to have a large police force, what would be inherently wrong with that? Isn't law and order a good thing? Or are you assuming that just because they're employed by the Chinese State that no police officer can be good? That would be painting with rather a large brush, wouldn't it?

> expensive great firewall

Source that the Great Firewall is expensive. Is it more expensive than the enormous NSA Utah Data Center and the innumerable data pipes which feed it? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center

> Look China is at war. It's just at war internally and spending a lot of money on it.

By China, you mean the Communist Party of China I presume. Because otherwise you'd be talking about a civil war which is clearly not the case. It's true that the CPC brooks very little outright dissent, and it's true that the CPC's regime is virtually totalitarian when it comes to political ideology and expression. But to say that the CPC is at war with its own population is bonkers. It's well documented that there are tens of thousands of demonstrations a year so it would be incorrect to claim that the regime is 100% totalitarian (like N. Korea, for instance) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protest_and_dissent_in_China

> This internal war is likely more expensive then USA's many foriegn misadventures.

Unsubstantiated balderdash. We can see from the USA's ever-increasing deficit mountain owing to the enormous and ever-increasing Defense budget that there is no Earthly way this claim of yours is true. The USA's many foreign misadventures (a lovely way of articulating something that has destroyed millions of lives and caused untold suffering) are collectively easily more expensive than the CPC's ongoing dissident surveillance, suppression and security apparatus.

“The bill, which passed 85-10 in a massive show of bipartisan support, represents a considerable boost in defense spending across the board – roughly $82 billion just for next year.

The annual increase by itself is bigger than the annual defense budget of Russia ($61 billion) and the two-year jump of over $165 billion eclipses the entire defense budget of China ($150 billion).” https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/can-you-...

> Thus China needs to go to Hong Kong to use their money and connections. China has no choice.

Given the incorrect premises undoubtedly your conclusion is incorrect.

Even including the internment camps, the US still has the largest per-capita prison population in the world.

The UK has, for many years, had the most extensive physical surveillance system in the world, with the NSA having one of the more extensive digital surveillance systems.[1]

The Department of Defense employs 3.2 million people, 2.2 million of which are military (Active and otherwise). US police forces employ another 1 million. [2]

In contrast, China has ~1.6 million police officers (In a country four times more populous then the US), and ~2.3 million people in the military (Active and otherwise). There's probably a million or so of hanger-on people working in various administrative roles - but with China - who really knows?

The United States has been at war with enemies, internal, and external, for most of its existence. It is, as of Q1, 2019, fighting a few shooting wars against external enemies (Syrians, Iraqis, Afghanis), and non-shooting wars against a larger number of other external enemies, as well as internal ones (African Americans, illegal immigrants, and, of course, working class people of all stripes.)

If anything, the list of reasons you've given are the bullet points for why the American empire, as it exists today, is unsustainable, and is about to fall apart under its own weight. [3]

[1] Both, of course, are irrelevant budgetary rounding errors. So is the GFC.

[2] If you've ever turned on the radio - or the television, have you ever noticed how many businesses specifically advertise, or cater to veterans, and their extended families? That's because nearly everyone in the US is, at most, two steps removed from an active, or former soldier. You don't see those kinds of advertisements in countries that don't have an over-sized military.

[3] In reality, it can probably continue on its trajectory for another two decades, or so. All of these bullet points were true in 1999, after all.

The internment camps thing is not an outright lie but it is propaganda: https://off-guardian.org/2018/09/19/no-the-un-did-not-report...

Your other points are very well made though.I'm sure your figures are accurate but it'd be great if you could provide sources for them.

No doubt we need to get out of endless wars. It seems easier said then done. As soon as President Trump tried to get out of Syria there was a huge backlash from Government insiders. Eventually China will block the South China Sea trade routes and because we are over-extending ourselves we may find ourselves powerless against it.


I've asked for some reasons for why BRI is an overextension. I was given a few indicators. I respond that those indicators are present, some of them three-fold in the current political situation of the United States.

If those points are the reason China's about to topple over, why hasn't the United States already done so?

> If those points are the reason China's about to topple over, why hasn't the United States already done so?

China is not about to topple over. My point is that to get more funds for the BRI, China has decided to go to Hong Kong to do so. There is nothing more to it. I felt the rest of the initiatives are cover for the first one.

Use Hong Kong's resources? Have you looked at where HK gets its water, its food? Or how many of the listings on the exchange are China related companies?

Financial resources... not physical resources.

Firstly, this plan has been unveiled for a while now. Secondly, this plan is as much hong kong/macau trying to "tie" itself closer to the mainland as vice versa. But bloomberg being bloomberg, we get a dose of stale news mixed with propaganda. Thirdly, rather than hong kong and macau being tied closer to the mainland, it's really the pearl river delta cities just integrating together as you'd normally expect cities in region to do.

Here is a 4 year old video on what the aspirations of the pearl river delta are.


Another major megalopolis that china is building is centered around beijing.


The actual document was only released by the PRC State Council in the afternoon of February 18 2019. Granted it's been over 24 hours by now, but it's hardly stale.

There's also Yangtze River Delta (YRD) emerging megalopolice, now planning to connect subway systems of Shanghai and Suzhou. In fact it is more populous and economically successful than PRD.

Rest in peace. Hopefully the Republic of China can manage to resist them.

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