The saying changed to "You'll never get anywhere betting against Hong Kong."
The purpose of this book is not to "bet against Hong Kong."
It is to bet for freedom of the press in Hong Kong as a catalyst to getting Hong Kong back on the road to prosperity, creativity and to fulfilling its promise as China's greatest international city.
While there are plenty of threats to press freedom in Hong Kong, this book covers at least two phenomena that could be said to be encouraging, that is working toward freedom of the press in Hong Kong.
One of these is the example of the rambunctious quest for democracy shown by Taiwan. Press freedom and the demand for freedom of expression shown in the growth of cable television are part of this syndrome.
Hong Kongers once were haughty and disdainful of "rough" Taiwan residents and their nouveau riche ways. The tables have turned; See Chapter Six as Professor Lo Ven-hwei guides us through "Hong Kong as Perceived from Taiwan."
The other force working toward openness, not only in Hong Kong but across vast China, is the Internet. Imagine my surprise in 1997 when I received a comment on one of my columns from a teacher on Hainan Island. Nowadays, such exchanges are commonplace and seem to be allowed as long as there is no criticism of the Communist Party detected. See Chapter Nine "Internet, Books & Dissidents."
The Suffocation of Hong Kong, after all, is reversible if enough people take an active position toward press freedom. And see Chapter 11, "Conclusion & Recommendations."
There was bound to be some slippage in Hong Kong's fine-tuning after the handover. As Jimmy McGregor, 72, a Scot who has lived in Hong Kong since the 1950s said, "A Rolex watch is being taken over by a garage mechanic." (1)