Whether Beijing will ever let that happen remains unknown. Communist Party leaders view all forms of political independence with great suspicion, if not paranoia, and President Xi’s current crackdown on mainland dissent intensifies the mood. For the record, Beijing officials sometimes say the territory’s relatively free status might serve eventually as a model for all of China. To date, however, political influence has flown mostly the other way and Hong Kong’s future remains undetermined.
Robert Keatley is a former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong.