China’s Playbook in Hong Kong Is Also Working in the Asia-Pacific

Beijing has co-opted politicians, guided media narratives, and used investment to influence politics from Cambodia to Australia.

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong have captivated the world, prompting speculation of another brutal Tiananmen-like government crackdown. Rather than viewing Hong Kong merely through the lens of a China problem, however, it may make more sense to see it in the context of the broader Asia-Pacific region.

The “one country, two systems” arrangement, under which Hong Kong has been administered by Beijing since London handed the former colony over to Chinese control in 1997, has theoretically given the territory an almost country-like status. But in recent years, the Chinese Communist Party—led byXi Jinping, its strongest leader since Mao Zedong—has worked to erode the high degree of autonomy that it promised Hong Kong.

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