HKUST PPOL Newsletter Fall 2023

27 Public Policy Dialogue Series However, Prof. Cheung astutely observed that since the late 2010s, there has been rising hostility within Sino-American relations. With the termination of the Hong Kong Policy Act and the passing of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act in July 2020, Prof. Cheung noted that Hong Kong has transformed from a buffer zone to a hotspot in US-China relations. Consequently, Hong Kong has suffered collateral damage in the deteriorating relationship between the two superpowers verging on the New Cold War. Prof. Cheung lamented that Hong Kong, once the epitome of the "Best-of-Both-Worlds," now finds itself in an unflattering situation. While acknowledging Hong Kong's significant challenges in maintaining its status, Prof. Cheung adopted a philosophical perspective, asserting that no great world city is immune to decline. He drew upon historical examples of once-great cities such as Venice, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Liverpool, and Detroit, all of which have experienced varying degrees of decline. In Prof. Cheung's view, there is no reason why Hong Kong should be an exception. He emphasized that Hong Kong's strategic value has always been its role as an interconnection between China and the rest of the world. Approaching the question of internationalization, Prof. Lui cautioned against complacency, highlighting the distinction between regional headquarters, regional offices, and local offices. He presented data indicating that while the number of local offices has been increasing, regional headquarters and regional offices have reached a plateau and have been declining in recent years. Furthermore, when comparing the composition of regional headquarters from 30 years ago to present figures, Prof. Lui noted a significant decrease in the dominance of US regional headquarters and those from other Western countries, with mainland Chinese companies taking their place. According to Prof. Lui, the status of Hong Kong in the eyes of the world is shaped by evolving international relations and geopolitics. He emphasized the need to find ways to enhance Hong Kong's relinking with the world, while acknowledging the advantage of its institutional depth. Mr. Brian Wong asserted that Hong Kong's competitiveness faces its greatest risk in its inability to adapt to a post-Covid and post-Sino-US rivalry geopolitical landscape. He cautioned against the extremes of those wishing to transform Hong Kong into just another mainland Chinese city. Conversely, Mr. Wong advocated for a departure from binary dichotomies when examining the world, urging us to transcend the limitations of a nation-state mentality. Prof. Matus, on the other hand, encouraged us to have faith in the people and culture of Hong Kong. She expressed optimism about Hong Kong's future and urged us to appreciate the vibrant and unique elements that distinguish Hong Kong from any other place in the world. 28 Jan 2008 Time Magazine Cover