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These charts show why Hong Kong is important to China

Beijing’s recent push to implement a national security law in Hong Kong — a Chinese special administrative region — once again heightened worries that the city’s autonomy is being compromised.     

Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is governed under the “one country, two systems” principle. The framework allows the city some freedom that its mainland counterparts don’t enjoy, such as self-governing power, limited election rights, its own currency and a largely independent legal system.

Such autonomy from mainland China underpins Hong Kong’s position as a leading global financial and business center. It’s also a reason why the U.S., by law, treats it differently from other Chinese cities — but that so-called special status is now under threat.

Still, Hong Kong has been an important gateway between China and the rest of the world. That is likely to remain so for some time, even though the territory’s contribution to China’s economic growth has diminished through the years.


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