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Shuli Ren

How Covid Widens the Gap Between Hong Kong and China

Almost two years of strict border controls undermine the integration of the former British colony.

Luohu border crossing in Shenzhen, China.

Luohu border crossing in Shenzhen, China.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Hong Kong is part of China, but the strict border controls between the former British colony and the rest of the mainland instill a physical and psychological sense of separation.

Monday kicked off China’s annual lunar New Year travel season, a 40-day holiday period that marks the world’s biggest human migration. Despite small Covid outbreaks across China, the Ministry of Transportation predicted that passenger travel might even surpass the 2020 level, part of which occurred before the pandemic. Flights and train rides can be chaotic, but with a negative Covid test result in hand, those who live in low-risk areas, which is still most of China, can travel to their home towns for the celebration. People do need to see their families and the period ought to be “festive,” a People’s Daily editorial has opined.