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            may 24, 2019

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Beijing mega plan to integrate HK, Macau raises tricky questions


Beijing has announced that it wants to turn the "Greater Bay Area" covering the Pearl River Delta, into a leading global innovation hub, boost infrastructure connectivity and strengthen Hong Kong's role as an international centre of finance, shipping, trade and the offshore yuan business.
Still unknown are questions about which customs, tax and legal systems would predominate. In Hong Kong, the concept of the Greater Bay Area has led to worries that further integration will erode the "one country, two systems" framework that allows the city to maintain separate legal, monetary and political systems from Communist China, said Bloomberg News.
"The vagueness of the 11-chapter document suggests that officials will struggle to realise the initiative's goals," said Yue Su, China economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
"The difficulties in agreeing reforms that both advance the cause of regional integration and are palatable to officials in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and the central government will be the key challenge," she said.
Said Tencent's co-founder Pony Ma: "Our Greater Bay Area is different in one big way from other Bay Areas. We have one-country two-systems. We have more than 100 years of segregation and now we are entwining."
The plan emphasised the importance of maintaining the "one country, two systems" frameworks meant to ensure a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong and Macau. But it also identified diverging social, customs and legal systems as a challenge to the Greater Bay Area's success, without providing details on how they would be integrated."Economically a kind of blurring of the boundaries of 'one country, two systems' is inevitable," said Sonny Lo, a politics professor at the University of Hong Kong, who has authored books on the city's relationship with Beijing. "But given the fact that Hong Kong and Macao have legal and political differences with China, 'one country, two systems' will be retained."

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