Why build ‘Hong Kong 2.0’ in Britain? Hongkongers can create another miracle here, now and beyond

When I first heard the idea of building a “Hong Kong 2.0” in the British county Lincolnshire, my initial thought was that it bordered on absurdity. Plus, it is rather random: why Lincolnshire of all the counties in Britain?
According to BBC Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine, who recently floated the concept, Lincolnshire would be ideal because it is one of the most sparsely populated counties in Britain. So for three million displaced Hongkongers, it seems like the perfect place to start anew.
The idea of a “Hong Kong 2.0” in the East Midlands came after the British government announced plans to allow up to 3 million Hong Kong residents, who are eligible for British National (Overseas) passports, to live and eventually settle in the country if they are uncertain about the future of the city.
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But come to think of it, such an idea is not exactly new. Every now and then when we travel abroad, we do come across streets or places that seem to have been replicated from bits and pieces of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is an anomalous success story that’s envied by many the world over. But could an exact replica be created nearly 10,000 kilometres away? Even if Britain could “clone” Hong Kong and create one that looks and functions in almost the same way, would the new version be able to embody the soul and spirit of the original?
Hong Kong’s success is one-of-a-kind and is not something that could easily be engineered in a prefabricated setting.
The Chinese believe in the timing of heaven, the advantage of geography, and the harmony of man, all of which will have to be present to create the right synergy to achieve one’s intended goals.
If I moved to live in a new city, I would definitely want to integrate rather than segregate and end up living in a Chinatown or isolated community, no matter how affluent.
The copycat idea is essentially about building a city specifically for Hongkongers and other locations across Britain have been floated, including the north of Scotland, the north-east of England, and now Lincolnshire.
Some of those who support the idea have made it clear that they would prefer Hongkongers to stay in one designated city, rather than move to and live in another part of the country. The same group of people also believe letting Hongkongers live in a specific city is a compromise that would allow Britain to help Hong Kong people without inconveniencing anybody (mostly Brits) in the country.
But any government policy that restricts the movement of people of certain ethnicities and dictates where they should live and work is not only racist but draconian.
No one wants to move to another country where they feel like second-class citizens, so being segregated from the rest of the population or being taken advantage of certainly sends that message to a new and hopeful immigrant who is looking to build a new life.
If the idea of a Hong Kong city works, then Britain can certainly reap the benefits. But if it fails, it would be cast aside and be left to rot like a ghetto, so it’s a win-win for the British government.
However, many believe, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and say, for that matter, Hong Kong people should be grateful that others think the city is worth copying. But, if anyone could have a choice, wouldn’t they want to have the real McCoy?
The truth is that Hong Kong people have so much to offer in terms of professional skills, assets, and capital. Those who can afford to emigrate will certainly bring with them plenty of cash and skills.
I am confident that Hong Kong people can make it anywhere. Just look at how they have built up the city since the 1960s, following political and social unrest. Hongkongers, in true innovative spirit, turned their turmoil into an economic miracle that no one thought would have been possible.
If Hongkongers have any ambitions to rebuild elsewhere then they need to ensure that they do everything they can to integrate into their new community and not self-isolate, which will send the wrong message to their new host country …
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