Shenzhen, Macau and Hong Kong are three sisters separated at birth.
Tucked away in the Pearl River Delta, they might have been mistaken for triplets if it weren’t for the vicissitudes of history that put them on such different paths. A century and a half ago, armed foreigners came knocking on their door in the dead of night, waking the sleepers out of a national slumber.
The mightiest among the intruders, bearing the Union Jack, snatched the oldest sister in the name of free trade, not long before a Latin conquistador ran off with the middle one. Their pillage and plunder would go on for several more decades before a new enemy brought on by a divine wind opened a chapter so dark that history textbooks had to be bowdlerized.
|The Hong Kong Handover
Luckily or not, Shenzhen was the only sister of the three spared from colonial rule. While Hong Kong thrived under British rule and Portuguese Macau carved a niche for itself as Asia’s Sin City, Shenzhen didn’t begin to come of age until 1980 when Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping handpicked her to be the country’s first Special Economic Zone. A late bloomer notwithstanding, the southern belle flourished under the auspices of Deng’s Reforms and Openness (改革開放) initiatives, and quickly became a poster girl for the country’s pragmatic socialism...
Read the rest of this essay in HONG KONG State of Mind, available at major bookstores in Hong Kong and at Blacksmith Books.
|HONG KONG State of Mind