Under the original plans of property developer Ivan Ko, the charter city “Nextapolis” would be built between two of Ireland’s largest towns and filled with 1.5 million Hong Kongers sheltering from political pressures in their home city.
But while charter cities are fairly common, international charter cities are another matter. The idea, proposed in the late 2000s, was that new cities could be established in developing countries and operated by outside governments or organizations, a separate economic and social for supercharge development in the rest of the country. Model.
If “Nextapolis” goes ahead, it would be the first bid to establish an international charter city – albeit with a few – in about a decade, and the first bid to go beyond the planning stages.
Co-founder of the International Charter City Investment Company, Victoria Harbor Group (VHG), his plans for a “new Hong Kong” in Ireland are still on track, despite an apparent lack of progress with Irish authorities.
What is Charter City?
Hong Kong itself was the original inspiration for many international charter city advocates, including Roemer, who saw it as a proof of concept: a city that had operated for decades with the British structure in Asia, and then one within China Unique political and economic system.
International charter cities work like this: a new city is built within a sovereign country, but is free to experiment with its own political and economic system – usually with lower taxes and skewed regulations. A foreign country can also act as a city administrator – the idea that a spillover effect of this city will boost the economy of the developing world country that it is built from.
Roemer, in a 2009 TED Talk, gave the example of creating a “special administrative zone” in Guantanamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba, which would be administered by Canada, and would “connect the modern economy and the modern world” to Cuba. . It is similar to how China created a special economic zone in Shenzhen to connect the country to the capitalist world and afford greater economic freedom to experiment without the wholesale transformation of the national economic system.
“Wages are lower in the national arena, with labor standards worse (and) more non-existent than environmental regulations,” he said. “This makes it ideal for a pattern of accumulation by foreign capital, but is not good for national development.”
New Hong Kong?
In a statement, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs stated that “after an initial approach in December 2019, the Department had limited contact with Ko”, and had “taken no further action” on the matter.
And if anything is ever felt, it is likely to be a fundamentally inferior version of CoA’s original vision. According to a version of the plan leaked to the Times of London, he originally proposed a settlement of half a million people. His latest plan is for a city of just 15,000 compared to some residential residences in Hong Kong. According to the Times, officials expressed concern over obtaining the amount of land required for the size of a city, which was initially suggested by the size.
Yet Hong Kong is a striking example of a place that exists within one country, but it governs itself differently that many people may move this model to another continent, swapping China for Ireland or the UK Taxes can enjoy the same economic success. That Hong Kong is in the last decades.
Original charter city
Sam Bowman, director of competition policy at the International Center for Law and Economics, recently wrote in an essay “Let’s build Hong Kong 2.0 here in the UK” that “lawyers in charter cities want to replicate the success of Hong Kong and Singapore.”
Hong Kong sprang from colonial rule. The British had previously administered a small piece of Chinese territory until 1997, giving it access to an established legal scaffolding and expertise in governance.
While the liberal economist Milton Freedman called Hong Kong under the Brits “when the government is limited to its proper function and leaves the people free to fulfill its objectives,” the reality is not quite so simple.
And for all of Hong Kong’s pre-independence issues, its Chinese residents did not have much political representation until the end of the 20th century.
John Mok, an academic at the University of California, Irvine, studying Hong Kong, said that Western thinkers “always frame Hong Kong as an economically liberal city with good liberal values.”
“We Hong Kongers are well aware that the gap between rich and poor is very, very wide,” he said.
supply and demand
Although Hong Kong may have something to do with the idea of an international charter city, the creation of a “new Hong Kong” for migrants to another country is a distinct departure from the original concept.
Instead of building a charter city inside a developing country, catering to an existing population in need of work and opportunities, the “new Hong Kong” model relies on Ireland or another government getting ready to accept thousands Is, if not hundreds of thousands, of new migrants, on the basis that the proposed city will bring economic benefits.
To sell the idea, many supporters have implicated Hong Kong people as economic dynamos, often wandering in a racially tight zone about “hardworking Asians”.
However, Chinese-American scientist Yangyang Cheng said that such “phrases are not praised. They are demeaning.”
Rich, highly educated expatriates can be a boon to the countries in which they visit, these comments ignore the fact that the bulk of Hong Kong’s population is suffering due to a wealth gap – and ignore this reality That a new city cannot offer the same economic opportunities as their home.
Cheng wrote, “By portraying the people of Hong Kong as the ‘right’ type of immigrant, as distinct from migrants on the US-Mexico border or as refugees from the Mediterranean Sea, Western lawmakers viewed the Asian city as their political theater saw.” “They profess to defend human rights in solidarity, while promoting racist and xenophobic policies at home.”
Nor is it readily apparent that many Hong Kongers will be on board with moving to northeastern Ireland, or an undeveloped part of the UK, as the Charter Cities proposal asks them to do.
A University of York academic, Wetherall, said that despite promises to somehow rebuild the Hong Kong system in Ireland or the UK, a person’s relationship at any place is “deeper than the similarity of physical buildings, economic models or tax systems” “.
“Ireland is not Hong Kong, it’s a different climate, it’s a different world,” he said. “(Even though you) can recreate Hong Kong’s horizon in Ireland, it won’t be the same.”
A 28-year-old lawyer who was planning to emigrate told CNN that he too was leaning toward Taiwan. He liked the idea of building a new Hong Kong, but said he had “never thought seriously about Ireland”.
“I went there once for two weeks. It’s a lovely place, but I don’t know much about it,” he said, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject. “Many Hong Kong people are already living in Canada and the US or Taiwan and there are already mini communities of Hong Kong people. I’m not sure the same for Ireland.”
Jadin Sham of CNN contributed to the reporting.