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Once a Model City, Hong Kong Is in Trouble

As the political wrangling in Hong Kong is drawn out, some people are leaving. One popular destination is Taiwan, a flourishing Chinese democracy with more affordable real estate and news outlets that have not been cowed by Beijing as many of those in Hong Kong have.

Pat Yeung, 43, an entrepreneur, said she moved to Taiwan this summer after a friend emigrated to get her children out of the high-pressure schools, and after she met another couple who relocated seeking cheaper housing.

In Hong Kong, with its relentless business competition and darkening political climate, Ms. Yeung said, “the pressure is too, too much.”

Three years ago, Beijing presented Hong Kong with a proposal to allow residents to elect the chief executive, but only from a slate of candidates approved by a nomination committee under its control. The pro-democracy forces rejected the offer, holding out for free elections without such a limit, and Beijing’s refusal to budge prompted the Umbrella Movement protests.

It was a pivotal moment for Hong Kong, with all sides letting a chance at compromise slip by and digging in for what has been a prolonged stalemate.

The pro-democracy camp’s biggest mistake may have been believing that President Xi Jinping, who at the time had been in office for almost two years, intended to guide China toward a more pluralistic future.

Martin Lee, the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said that he harbored such hopes because he had met Mr. Xi’s father, a senior Communist leader considered more open-minded than most of Mao’s generals.

Others noted Mr. Xi’s record as a leader in the eastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, where he adopted a moderate tone while trying to attract Hong Kong investors, said Joseph Cheng, another longtime democracy advocate.

Source: NYT > World

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