Publisher description for Seeing red : China's uncompromising takeover of Hong Kong / Jamie Allen.
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'What is going to happen to Hong Kong after 1 July 1997?'
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong is one of the late 20th century's
most fascinating and significant historical events. An advanced economy and
society accustomed to living under a relatively liberal British colonial
administration is being handed back to a potentially unstable former communist
In the most provocative book written about the 1997 issue, Jamie
Allen provides answers by approaching the question from a different angle: 'What
is happening to Hong Kong?' Seeing Red tracks the progress of China's hard-nosed
takeover strategy since the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in
December 1984. It examines the Basic Law from the perspective of China's political
imperatives, and describes the steady advance of mainland Chinese business
interests in the colony. He finds that Hong Kong's reunification with China has
more to do with a process of recolonisation than decolonisation.
Who will gain or lose from these changes?
Liberalism and its proponents will be a casualty
because, contrary to a generous reading of the Joint Declaration and the Basic
Law, China never intended to preserve Hong Kong's political system intact after
reunification. The principle of 'one country, two systems', if read within the
context of statements made by senior officials such as Deng Xiaoping, offers
only economic and social freedoms to Hong Kong
it is not a guarantee that
existing civil liberties can be maintained. Certain existing business interests,
especially British ones, will lose out because of the proprietorial attitude
being shown towards Hong Kong's strategic service sectors by mainland Chinese
China's policies towards Hong Kong often seem confusing and inconsistent, a
feature exacerbated by the natural tendency of the local press to look for signs
of hope in every new utterance from Beijing. Seeing Red argues that China does
have a coherent and well coordinated programme for the takeover of Hong Kong,
one that is shaped by the mindset and imperatives of the Communist Party of
China. Were the Party to fall tomorrow, the nature and method of reunification
would be significantly different.
SEEING RED demonstrates that Hong Kong does not exist in a competitive vacuum. The economic status quo must change as China changes and Asia becomes more complex. The author argues that it is by no means certain the Chinese government can maintain the unique combination of factors that has contributed to Hong Kong's successful economy, a predictable legal system and the skill and spirit of its people. Yet if this features are not preserved Hong Kong's relative attractiveness as a business centre will be further undermined.
It is a book for businessmen and financiers who want an assessment of the threats facing Hong Kong in the first five to ten years after the handover.
Jamie Allen was born in Singapore in 1962, and was educated in Australia. He studied Political Science and Mandarin at the Australian National University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1986. He also studied Mandarin in Taiwan for two years.
He arrived in Hong Kong in 1987, and worked for the South China Morning Post as a reporter. In 1992, he joined The Economist Intelligence Unit as editor of Business Asia. In 1994, he was seconded to The Economist in London. In 1995, he left full-time employment to write freelance, and to work on 'Seeing Red'. He has written for a number of publications in the UK and Australia, including Business Review Weekly, The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. In the course of his work as a journalist, he has traveled throughout Asia, and spent considerable time in China.
Jamie lives in Hong Kong.
· Detailed discussion of the political, social and business issues relating to the takeover
· Superbly researched
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