The latest from British academia is that China should slap down on the freedoms of Hong Kong because of the economic liberty the place enjoys.
This is not a joke by the way, nor is it an unkind reading of the point being made. It is the point being made:
Protests in Hong Kong have captured the world’s attention in recent weeks, with demonstrators closing streets and the airport, and Chinese forces amassing near the border with a none too subtle threat of violent reprisal. The protests began in response to a new extradition law, but have spilled over into a general unease about the future of Hong Kong’s special administrative status. This special status sets Hong Kong apart from mainland China in a number of ways. As well as enjoying various social and political freedoms, it has a free market economy and is one of the world’s biggest financial centres. Global finance has attracted a number of Chinese elites but has not benefited a large chunk of Hong Kong society. But if Hong Kong’s protesters succeed in pushing back against the oversight of Beijing, it would serve to reinforce the benefits the elites already enjoy from Hong Kong’s economic arrangements. This parallels the situation in the UK, where financial elites could soon embrace a low-tax, low-regulation future following a no-deal Brexit driven by populist concerns about immigration and inequality.
That large chunk of Hong Kong society that hasn’t benefited.
Being 5 times better off isn’t a benefit at all, is it?
Aren’t we lucky with the academia we have?