When the Chinese leadership maps out its long-term regional and global policies, the territories of Hong Kong and Taiwan take special position.
While the United States, Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative through Asia and Africa are all vital to China’s continued growth, these two cosmopolitan wealthy, educated societies represent its emotional side. Beijing regards Hong Kong and Taiwan as sovereign territory, whereas their people do not see eye to eye with the Chinese Communist Party and, unlike on the mainland, have the freedom to say so.
How events unfold in these two places may determine how China’s own expansion unfolds, whether it will continue with its pragmatic drive of the past two decades or whether its heart will rule its head and allow Hong Kong and Taiwan’s independent-mindedness to trip it up and cause it to lash out. […]