In local affairs, Beijing is not Brussels [China Daily]

Beijing is not Brussels. An obvious statement, some might say, but in relation to Hong Kong, it is actually a revealing comparison. It turns out that the center of the European Union has more power to influence the lives of French, German or Polish citizens than Beijing has over Hong Kong citizens. By being exempt from national regulation, and by possessing the power to setup its own policies, Hong Kong has more power to control its own society than some states do.

Hong Kong’s freedom from external regulation percolates down to the very nuts and bolts of how people live their lives in the city. Regulations over product and food safety are tighter than on the mainland, which explains the masses of mainland tourists trying to bring baby milkpowder and other foodstuffs across the border. Hong Kong has its own anti-trust regime, its own privacy ordinances, and labeling requirements; in just about every aspect of economic and social life, Hong Kong has jurisdiction.

This is an excerpt from an opinion piece published in China Daily on October 11th, 2013. The full article can be accessed here.