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Twenty-five years ago, at midnight on June 30, 1997, Britain handed over Hong Kong, its colony for 150 years, to China in return for a promise that the region would be given “a high degree of autonomy” and retain its lifestyle for the next 50 years under a “one country, two systems” formula. What lay beyond 2047 was not spelled out.

Now, China has made that future clear by moving the post-2047 scenario forward.

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