>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.
The NY Metropolitan Statistical Area is 20.3 million residents in 17,405 km2, according to Wikipedia.
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.
There were never "friendly" relationships between two superpowers in history if I remember correctly.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
 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.
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.
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. According to some estimates, they fell by 98%. 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.
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%:
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. 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.
 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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  or when the Chinese billionaire living in the Four Seasons on the island 'returned to seek medical treatment on the mainland' .
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.
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.
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.
It will be a Chinese internal issue after the expiry of the agreed period in 2047.
China treating it as void does not change that.
Nothing racist about making that observation.
That's where foreign powers had to go to conduct trade.
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?
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 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.
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 
The taxis, logistics and trucking industries do have political clout, though, and they will be the ones pushing back.
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.
FWIW I already have 1Gbps FTTH dual-stack Internet at home here in HK.
Here’s a primer:
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? :)
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).”
> 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.
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.
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. 
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. 
 Both, of course, are irrelevant budgetary rounding errors. So is the GFC.
 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.
 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.
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.
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.
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.