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Jim Manzi:

In the early 1990s I had negotiated a transaction with a fabulously wealthy Hong Kong property entrepreneur. After the deal was closed, we were out on his yacht in the harbor, and he began to grow a little wistful - which, in my limited experience, is a pretty rare state of mind for a Chinese magnate. He told me the story of coming to Hong Kong as a child. His family was travelling illegally by foot through southern China in the attempt to get to Hong Kong and freedom. They had to travel at night to avoid arrest. That part of China in those days was mostly dark at night, because so little of it was electrified. So they navigated by looking for the glow on the horizon and walking toward it, knowing that it had to be Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was once a light in the darkness. Increasingly, it's just another city in a rapidly-developing China.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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