Hong Kong 2047

Hong Kong  is supposed to remain status quote up to 2047. Deng allowed us another 50 years to “enjoy” the systems we had been having before 1997.

Chapter 1, Article 5 of the HKSAR basic law states that ” The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years”.

2047 only bothers me if I am still alive by that time. Maybe, at the start of 2012, we can make some educated guess as to what will happen in 2047.

In HK, only change is the constant. We expect that HK will continually evolve. The ever-increasing tie and interaction with the Mainland mean that we will be intimately affected by the changes in the Mainland. If only we can predict what is going to happen to Mainland, then we will have some hope to predict what is going to happen to HK. It is only obvious that there will be less and less of physical and psychological boundary between the two.

China has Five Year Plans which give us some indication as to what they say will do in the next 5 years.   For the first time , HK and Macau are included in a chapter of the 12th Five Year Plan. “The purpose of the central government in laying out such a chapter on Hong Kong and Macau in the 12th five-year plan is to support Hong Kong’s development, and this arrangement will in no way replace Hong Kong’s own plan,” Premier Wen said in response to a question from a Hong Kong reporter.

As our Chief Executive Donald Tsang said, HK’s inclusion in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) indicates the city’s role as a financial center is not threatened by Shanghai. This inclusion also means that our planning is now more integrated with that of the Mainland.

There will be 6 more Five-Year Plans of China before we reach 2047. Unless there are radical changes in this regard in the next 6 Five Year Plans, HK will likely be the leading financial and life style center in China. I guess this city to China will be like New York is to the US.

The Yuan will be a commonly traded currency; the HKD will most probably be pegged to the Yuan thus rendering its existence as almost irrelevant.

The HK legal system originally based on common law may be the only thing that would pass beyond 2047 without any substantial change. The HK legal system is internationally recognized and forms a strong bridge with the outside world. However, the legal systems in HK and Mainland are different and deep-rooted as to make a common system difficult. It may be feasible that ways could be found for the two systems to exist side by side, perhaps with greater effort made to consolidate commercial law.

The HK population will exceed 10 million; over 40% of the population will be over 60 years old; still, many of us will be cramped in small flats. As with previous, the HK skyline will be substantially changed every decade or so. The fact that we are geared towards tourism mean that we will develop more theme parks, shopping malls etc. It is likely that Hong Kong will become a spectacle for the tourists, hope that this doesn’t mean that Hong Kong will become less of a home to her citizens

No doubt, we will still have song and dance and also gambling at the racecourse.

However, Hong Kong will slowly learn that the “one country, two systems” principle was never intended to be a permanent solution.  Realistically, the period from 1997-2047 was only meant to be a transitional phase whereby HK is being prepared to join China as one country, one system (except legal, I would argue).

We still have another 35 years before we reach 2047; but is HK really planning our own future?

I am a bit surprised that while Mainland has a Five Year Plan, HK never seem to have one. While the contestants for the Chief Executive talk about their governing road maps, they never talked about their vision and their goals. How on earth do we know that their road maps are suitable to the goals without knowing the goals in the first place. Also each year, the CE would deliver a well packaged Annual Budget (one coming up in 2 days time) as if it is the only Plan. Is this an admission that this city is driven only by economics? Only reactive to short-term needs?

Wake up Hong Kong! Otherwise we will be losing another 35 years!