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One Country, Two Systems: The crumbling walls between China and Hong Kong

Illustration of the Chinese flag casting a shadow over the Hong Kong flag
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A bill that would have allowed for the extradition of people from Hong Kong to China drove millions to the streets in protest in recent weeks and is the latest action blurring the lines of the “One Country, Two Systems” structure.

Why it matters: Hong Kong, a concession of the Opium Wars and former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 on the grounds that it would maintain significant autonomy for 50 years. A global financial center, Hong Kong’s economy was once more than 1/4 the size of all of mainland China’s. As China’s economy has ballooned, and its reliance on Hong Kong has diminished, Beijing has exerted greater influence. But attempts to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy have been met with repeated mass protests.