Beijing has given Hong Kong freedom to shelve its dynamic zero-case policy and set its reopening timings to the world. The news was first reported by the Post, and later confirmed by Huang Liquan, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Department of the State Council.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been a unique case in China, while Macau chose from the beginning to entrust Beijing with the size of the next step. But the measures so far introduced by the SARs have proved too short for what their long-term goals are.
Quarantine time doesn’t change wills. The concept repels interested parties and care with the virus makes the processes very difficult. This padlock that linked the SAR is also no longer of interest to Beijing, as it wants Hong Kong and Macau to be the gateway to investment in the Greater Bay.
This change in Hong Kong demonstrates that autonomy exists, and that the “One Country, Two Systems” policy is to be used intelligently by the regions, always respecting sovereignty, but without forgetting their contexts. Macau will also have to take a stand.
According to Huang Liquan’s statements, the opening of international borders does not jeopardize the relationship with the Continent. Macau can then join hands with Hong Kong and benefit from yet another tourist flow. Furthermore, for the acquisition of foreign markets and subsequent economic diversification, you need an intermediary (unfortunately) and the neighboring region has an international airport.
But it does not seem that the change in Hong Kong will be extended to these sides. The eyes turn inwards again, waiting for possible decisions that come from the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, which is getting closer and closer. There, a discussion is expected on the current Covid-19 policy and its viability for the rest of the year. It may be that the support they have shown for Hong Kong is the omen for a nationwide reopening.
Because if international interests do not go beyond the SAR, Beijing’s interests are not being materialized. Forgetting the agreements with the United Kingdom and Portugal, the great interest in having special administrative regions is their ability to feed the Greater Bay.
*Executive Director of PLATAFORMA