What's changed and what hasn't about Hong Kong 10 years after the handover: the article revolves around this theme with a special perspective--emigration. Jittery about political crackdowns and economic recessions created by the handover, thousands of Hong Kong residents left town in the years before. However, according to one Canadian newspaper, a third of the 200,000 people who had left Hong Kong for Canada before 1997 returned to Hong Kong by 2005. What lured them back was not only what was unchanged about Hong Kong: the Victoria Park, Queen's Pier, Stanley…but what had changed with the handover--Hong Kong has now become a more robust city with a stronger economy and global competitiveness.
This can be best reflected in the Hang Seng Index for the past ten years. Unfortunately the Index plummeted shortly after the handover as the Asian Financial Crisis crept in, and again in 2003 when the city was struck by SARS. However it regained momentum quickly after that and kept stepping up ever since. Greater access to the mainland has been an incontestable boon to Hong Kong's economy. As the implementation of China's Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) spreads out, capital and other resources have been flooding Hong Kong from the mainland. In 1997, Hong Kong had the world's eighth largest stock market; today, it has the sixth.
However, we should always keep reminding ourselves that despite the promising picture, not all changes are desirable. Although the political and judicial independence of Hong Kong has been largely maintained under the "one country, two systems" arrangement, there are still occasional controversies revolving around the implementation of this arrangement. Pollution is yet another problem, which has gotten dramatically worse since 1997--in part due to the epic industrial boom in the Pearl River Delta. But as long as these problems are addressed by the government and the people, they can hardly take away from the fact that for the past 10 years, Hong Kong has undergone positive developments and been "changing with predictability and stability", as the articles suggested in the end.
Zhou Xiao Lin
July 8, 2007