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!

16 thoughts on “Hong Kong 2047

  1. What will happen in 2047? The world will be stranger than what you can imagine. Think about 1977, ie. 35 years ago, could you imagine then of the computer and communication revolutions or that China would become the world’s number 2 in terms of GDP. No one is able to tell about what the world would be like in 35 years’ time. Forget the 5-year planning, the socialist model. Is that becoming the trend now because of the decline of the West? Better imbibe ourselves in the joviality of the movie “2047” than worrying about the future.

  2. We need a crystal ball to predict what wil happen by 2047. Without a crystal ball, all we can do is to extrapolate the trend and recent developments in HK and Mainland. In my view, HK has not moved forward a great deal in the last 15 years after 1997. Partly, it was intentional, as Deng did not want drastic changes in HK. It could be even more predictable if, from now on, we are included in the China’s Five Year Plans. China’s great leap forward in GDP was predictable once Deng decided to go for a more capitalist route.From a technology perspective, no doubt, 35 years of technological advancement will bring us to a new era and our lives will never be the same.

    • I think the change will be gradual so by 2047 we will naturally and smoothly become just a leading city of China. The China Premier is now in HK celebrating our return to the motherland for 15 years. We lived in a “borrowed time, borrowed place” from 1945-1997 under British rule and from thence onward we are transitioning into a PRC framework. No doubt PRC will beome more globalised. The fate of HK is heavily dependant on what is going to PRC, so in a way, I was just postulating what will happen in 2047 based on my limited understanding. As a fan of Wong Kar Wai, I guess you must have viewed his film Hong Kong 2046. Regards, Michael

  3. I have viewed all movies of Wong Kar Wai. Usually I write reviews of books or movies which are important to me, to collect my understanding of them. An article of 2046 is in the works. So far I did not understand the movie yet, but your article gave me one avenue to explore. Chunking Express, Fallen Angles – source of my Avatar – provide fascinating psychoanalytic symbols and pictures but best of the best is Ashes of Time.

    Currency is fiscal sovereignty which translates in political freedom. In that respect Europe is also a “borrowed time, borrowed place” moving towards to a centralist rule similar to a PRC cadre framework. Unlike PRC, which economic policy is seen from my limited understanding somewhat sound, the West, especially Europe will run in disaster within years. PRC has very smart economic heads, I am sure they know what asset HK is to the PRC.
    I’ve been in the PRC a few times, but only in Beijing. When I retire, only a year away, China’s countryside is very high on my travel list.

    Regards, Klaus

    • Thanks for sharing your thought. I am trying to understand the history of HK and PRC and how they influence each other. One of the books I am reading is China’s Heavenly Dynasty Concept and Hong Kong (my own translation) written by Chan Kwun Chung, Oxford University Press published this year. I think it is a very good book on this subject, however, it is in Chinese. Regards, Michael

  4. The concept about the mandate of heaven of dynasties?
    I just read about the legendary Jesuit Matteo Ricc, a true Renaissance man. Macau and HK always seemed to be the window to the outside.
    To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world. Unfortunately I gave up learning Mandarin after a few weeks.
    (Tìn m̀h gìng, deih m̀h gìng, jí gìng bākfòng yàhn góng Gwóngdùngwá m̀hjeng)
    I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Mandarin speakers speaking Cantonese badly.

    • Apart from Matteo Ricci, the other “westerners” who have made some impact include Marco Polo, more recently Edgar Snow. To a very small extent, Han Su Yin mentioned in my post ” Love is a Many Splendored Thing”.
      I have never come across a native Mandarin speaker who can speak Cantonese without a detectable accent. As a native Cantonese speaker, I have a lot of sympathy for them as Cantonese has so many tones and often spoken in a colloquial manner. HK and Macau were deliberately left not returned to PRC so that they can be used as windows to the outside world. Regards, Michael

  5. Hello, Michael. I’m glad to discover your blog. I lived in Tai Koo Shing for 2 years including the 1997 handover before moving on to Singapore. I’ll enjoy following your journal. Thanks.

    • Hi John, I am by no means a HK expert, I only say what I have in my mind. My posts on HK did not attract a lot of followers and therefore I am now writing more about travels. With your past background in HK, I am sure you will have a better understanding of HK and where it is heading. Thanks for the kind comment! Michael

    • Hi Ron, we don’t know a lot about our future as we approach 2047, maybe that makes life interesting. All I know is that we will become more likethe rest of China, whereas China will become more like the West! Merry Christmas!

    • Hi nelayish08, thanks so much for the nominations which I understand are important awards. I have decided not to pursue or accept any nomination / award during my retirement and for this reason, I have already turned down all similar awards. Knowing that my blog is read in many places of the world (over 160 countries) is already my biggest reward. Thanks for enjoying my posts and thinking of me for the nominations. Regards, Michael

  6. Hi, I’m from South America and I see that in the future the world will have changed much of what we imagine as some by some researchers in 2016 already as China would have a change will have already surpassed U.S. settling in terms of economy as well as the leading power in hope that they exceed to America with the world in a good way that would be my only wish for ee.uu took us to a path of violence, brutality and hope that when China is the country number one does not do the same as ee.uu because we want peace in the world.

    • I can see that the future world should not be dominated by one set of values or that the values of the strongest country should prevail. Thank you for the precious comment🙂

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