Hong Kong and Singapore share enormous similarities, but also striking differences. Both have been historical shipping hubs. Both are islands (although Hong Kong includes a peninsula). Both were British colonies for hundreds of years. Today both are majority Chinese (Singapore, 75%; Hong Kong, 95%). Both have developed their economies from heavy manufacturing in the past to high-tech industry, logistics, and finance in the present. Both have about 6 million people.

Yet, Singapore went from British colony to independent country. Hong Kong became a “Special Administrative Region” of China, the first of it’s kind. Under the doctrine of “One Country, Two Systems,” the Chinese government in Beijing agreed to leave Hong Kong’s freedoms untouched for 50 years after the handover of power in 1997. Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, would say it simply became the colony of a different superpower. Some nationalist Hong Kongers celebrated a return to the “motherland.” Most in the territory consider themselves both Chinese and Hong Kongese. So it’s a difficult mish mash of nationalism.

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