Like many other people, I am very fond of Hong Kong and indeed of Hong Kong people generally. I lived there for some years and I wrote a long series of posts about the history of the place, here in the Bilge, which, after a little cleaning up, have found a permanent home here:
The practical downside to visiting Hong Kong is that it is fearsomely expensive. This of course is a side effect of the Chinese economic miracle - Hong Kong acts as a sort of Monaco-on-a-grand-scale-without-the-gambling and as a sort of Fairy Godmother to Chinese industrial development - its taxes are roughly a bit less than half what they are in China, its legal system is familiar and is very highly developed, as are all its business services, and it is famously free from corruption - indeed its citizens are highly alert to, and intolerant of, any sort of misconduct in public office.
One thing that has certainly changed since the 1997 handover is the number of Mainland visitors to HK - 32 million last year, compared to under one million in 1998. Most of them come to shop for genuine (as opposed to fake) luxury goods, to do business, to visit Disneyworld, etc but enough of them come to have babies for this to have become a significant issue in local politics.
About half the 80,000 babies born in HK last year were born to Mainland mothers; under the terms of the Basic Law this gives the child right of abode in Hong Kong, a very valuable privilege.
Hong Kong people are not happy about this.
This was a one page advert in "Apple Daily" earlier this year:
the text reads:
Do you want Hong Kong to spend $1,000,000 HKD every 18 minutes raising “double negative” children?*
Hong Kong... people have had enough!
■Because we understand that you are victimized by poisonous milk powder, we’ve tolerated you coming to panic buy milk powder;
■Because we understand that you have no freedom, we’ve welcome you to “travel freely” to Hong Kong;
■Because we understand that your education is backwards, we’ve shared our educational resources with you;
■Because we understand that you don’t read complete [traditional] Chinese characters, we’ve used crippled [simplified] Chinese characters below:
“When coming to Hong Kong, please respect local culture, [because] if it weren’t for Hong Kong, you would all be doomed.”
Strongly demand that the government revise the Article 24 of Basic Law!
Stop mainland “double negative” pregnant women from limitless invasion of Hong Kong!
*"Double negative children" = children of ethnic Chinese parents, neither of whom is from Hong Kong - Article 24 of the Basic Law was intended to ensure that Hong Kongers who fled abroad before 1997 could return and provides that such children, if born in Hong Kong, have right of abode there.