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The Nikkei View

The free city of Hong Kong is vanishing at an alarming pace

Beijing should nurture territory's vibrancy and role as economic gateway

Hong Kong's new Chief Executive John Lee, left, walks next to Chinese President Xi Jinping following a ceremony to inaugurate the city's new government, in Hong Kong on July 1.

It has been 25 years since Britain handed over Hong Kong to China. While only at the halfway mark of the 50-year autonomy promised by Beijing, the free city of Hong Kong is disappearing fast. The "one country, two systems" principle is being transformed under the heavy-handed rule of the Chinese Communist Party at an alarming pace.

The Hong Kong Basic Law, akin to the city's constitution, lays out a goal of electing the chief executive through universal suffrage. This goal has not been realized. Because the electoral system did not reflect the people's will, political protests were long tolerated in the city as an important means of political participation.

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