More Chinese Cities Join Hong Kong Tourism Initiative

    More Chinese Cities Join Hong Kong Tourism Initiative
    Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • China has added the mainland cities of Xian and Qingdao to its list of residents allowed to visit Hong Kong in a personal capacity rather than as part of a tour group. The "Individual Travel Scheme" agreement originally began in 2003 under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between the PRC and Hong Kong.

    • Eligible residents of these cities, whose populations exceed 10M, will be allowed to visit both Hong Kong and Macao for leisure purposes for a maximum of seven days per visit. Officials say the measure will also allow Hong Kong residents to explore more parts of the mainland.

    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    Hong Kong is back in business. Even without having finished its security law — which, as was the case with Macao, will make travelers feel safe enough to visit — the city reported over 1.4M travelers just during the eight-day Lunar New Year festivities. These numbers discredit Western media reports that Beijing is hurting the city. And if you wanted more proof, leaders in the Hong Kong tourism industry say that once the security law is codified, business will only continue to grow.

    Anti-China narrative

    Whether China forces a new tourism scheme upon Hong Kong is irrelevant — because the island no longer represents the vibrant culture it once had. Beijing, through its pro-Communist Party proxy politicians on the island, is now codifying Chinese culture into the laws of Hong Kong. While the government is attempting to bring back the spirited nightlife and tourism culture that existed before the security law took place, it likely won't succeed now that every islander is forced to live and work at the behest of the mainland's dictatorship.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Hong Kong will stop being a Special Administrative Region of China by August 2046, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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