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Opinion
Matthew Brooker

Matthew Brooker’s View to 2022: Hong Kong Tamed, Xi’s Prosperity

Xi Jinping will try to close inequality gaps and subdue China’s real-estate sector in 2022. Plus a selection of the columnist’s best work on Hong Kong from the past year.

Hong Kong’s stiff quarantine regime is aimed at meeting China’s Zero Covid policy.

Hong Kong’s stiff quarantine regime is aimed at meeting China’s Zero Covid policy.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

What to Expect in 2022: 

Like 2021, next year will be a pivotal one for Hong Kong and China. For the former British colony, the template appears set: The system has been remade to entrench Beijing’s control, freedoms that were guaranteed under “one country, two systems” have been eroded, hundreds are in prison for political offenses, and tens of thousands of people who can are moving abroad. For China, there are more unknowns. The government has embarked on a risky change of direction, seeking to refashion the economy to reduce inequality under the rubric of “common prosperity,” and making a sustained effort to lessen developer leverage and tame housing prices. Keep an eye on these trends in the coming year.

From the Year Behind Us: 

Hong Kong’s Avoidable Tragedy Is Complete:  The road to crushing Hong Kong’s democracy aspirations was a long one. At times, it appeared that Beijing might be willing to find a way to live with the city’s opposition forces. Ultimately, though, the landslide victory that opposition candidates won in the 2019 district council elections sealed the movement’s fate and showed up the situation as the gilded cage it always was. Beijing’s response was to pass a national security law, redefine political opposition as subversive, and finally to remodel the electoral system to ensure that establishment interests could never again lose.