Friday, December 19, 2008

China's treatment of Hong Kong

Those who remember my lecture-presentations from the time that the UK spinelessly handed Hong Kong to China, will recollect the following story that I used to tell.

In order to appreciate the point of the story, you need to know that that there are two kinds of "old" teapots. First, those that have merely stood the test of time, and, second, those that have not only stood the test of time but have also never been scoured inside - due to the trace deposits of old tea that accummulate, the tea that comes from such pots is considered particularly fine.

A businessman, who loved to collect old teapots, happened to be travelling in a remote part of China when, due to unforeseen circumstances, he was forced to spend the night in a little village where there was no hotel or inn. An elderly lady took him in for the night and, as is usual, offered him tea with his food. He noticed that the excellent tea came from a fine old teapot, and he realised that the pot had not been scoured for a long time - perhaps never. He was full of praise for the tea and the teapot. The old lady was non-plussed as she considered her tea rather ordinary and the teapot quite valueless - as valueless as all the other things in her little home. She mentioned that her children had emigrated to the city and would probably never come back, so no one would be interested in any of the valueless old things she had in her home, and he could have the teapot when he went in the morning if he liked it so much. The businessman asked how much money she wanted for the pot. She hesitated and demurred, and eventually ventured to ask for a trifle - but the businessman pressed her to accept a sum a few times more than she had asked for. The deal agreed to mutual satisfaction, the businessman went off to sleep. In the morning, after a quick wash, he handed over some money to the old lady for his board and lodging, along with the agreed sum for the teapot. In turn, she handed ove a very nicely wrapped package, saying: "As you liked the tea pot so much, I packed it as safely as possible, having scoured and cleaned it as thoroughly as I could".

Just as the old lady did not know the value of the tea-pot, let alone knowing in what the value of the pot lay, so China has always regarded Hong Kong as the "imperialist pimple on China's back-side". I predicted as long ago as 1996, if I recollect aright, that China would systematically seek to promote the traditional city of Shanghai against Hong Kong, and that Shanghai would not only soon outstrip Hong Kong, but that the Chinese would destroy Hong Kong because they have no idea of its value and no idea of wherein that value lies.

It is some tweelve years since the time I used to tell that story. China has already taken many steps to fulfilling that story. Now see the final steps beginning to unfold: Sphere: Related Content

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