Latest Issue

The future is a foreign country

Hong Kong's future will be Chinese, but what will be the residual influence of British traditions? As 1997 approaches, it remains unclear how much political and economic autonomy Beijing will tolerate. Ending the impasse between Britain and China could have some benefits, but lasting prosperity requires that Hong Kong retain its cosmopolitan spirit, says Philip Bowring

By Philip Bowring   October 1995

Hong Kong has little time for history. That is perhaps just as well. Historic buildings get in the way of developers’ profits. History books remind the Chinese that this city semi-state was born out of China’s humiliation by western imperialism.

But a sense of history must be the starting point for any soothsaying about 1997 and beyond. Will this date signal the end of something remarkable? Or a new beginning for what will be one of the world’s greatest cities for centuries to come? Will this date, etched in the consciousness of Hong Kong as surely as 1066 is a…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect