CITY ON THE ROCKS: Hong Kong's Uncertain Future by Kevin Rafferty

CITY ON THE ROCKS: Hong Kong's Uncertain Future

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lively compendium of fact and opinion about Hong Kong's past, present, and uncertain future. ""Hong Kong, more than any other place in the world, is dedicated to the pursuit of making money, more money and still more money,"" says Rafferty, a seasoned Asia correspondent for the Financial Times and the Independent Investor; and he proceeds to tell us nearly everything about how it got that way and how it works. He presents solid background, from the Opium Wars, which gave Britain this ""flea hanging on the ear of China,"" up through the complicated negotiations for its return. But mainly he concentrates on the money-making machinery, the people who run it, the labor, manufacturing enterprises, merchants, trade figures, scams and scandals, stock market, and other generators of wealth in this free-wheeling international financial and trade center. From interviews with informed observers and participants, he culls balanced views on the future when the colony reverts to China. Weight is given to the fact that China, with large investments in Hong Kong already, has a stake in maintaining its prosperity; on the other hand, ""the immediate prospect is that China's leaders will try to [make] economic reforms selectively, but will put the lid on anything that smacks of political freedom of expression."" And if the current flight of people and money persists, it would be ""the greatest irony"" if what is returned to China was ""a superficially modernized twentieth century island, full of grand buildings but essentially barren."" An excellent overview of Hong Kong that should be especially useful to investors and businessmen, with a wealth of detail that will also fascinate a more general readership.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1990
Publisher: Viking