The year winds down. Finally. What to focus on? It looks like Hong Kong is going to have mainland border officials in Hong Kong territory – at the terminus of the new rail link to/from Shenzhen. It still has to pass Legco, but it’s another sign of the times. Next step, one presumes, a revised push for Article 23, which would strengthen the powers of the authorities to deal with dissent. The first time it was mooted, hundreds of thousands of HK people took to the streets to protest and it was shelved. But the trend in the mood of Hong Kong people is unclear. As with the umbrella moment in 2014, we won’t know until the next moment comes.
In China, the big news has been reports that cash transactions on WeChat Pay are going to be more constrained, with greater levels of oversight and approval required with amounts above 500, 1000 and 5000.
And that, to summarize dramatically, is it for 2017. Was it an anomaly or the beginning of a new and more unstable future for the world? Is the global strategic and economic balance that has held since 1945 coming to an end? And if so, with what consequences, for China and everywhere else? To quote a song about the end of the Ming Dynasty: “Big pieces moving on the chessboard / May impact on me someday / For now it’s all beyond me / I’m heading out to dine and play.”
Best wishes to all our readers for a peaceful 2018 full of achievements and positive developments.