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Hong Kong is one of the more fascinating cities in the world and it's my pleasure and privilege to cover it for Globalpost.com. My name is Matt Driskill and I'm the correspondent here in this corner of China.
You might ask yourself "how did a former cowboy from Oklahoma end up on the other side of the world in Hong Kong of all places" and that's a good question. The answer is simple really: Like many people, I went through a divorce many years ago and wanted to start life over. I had been here before when I was returning to the U.S. from Sri Lanka, where I lived for a year (and that's another story). At the time, around 1997, the city was thriving and I was fortunate to land here with a job, friends, and an apartment. It's been a great time ever since.
I have been fortunate to witness the changes that Hong Kong has gone through since the handover from the British to the Chinese. I remember when I first arrived and was having a drink at the venerable Foreign Correspondents Club (where I would later serve as president), a photographer said to me that because I had arrived after the handover, I had "missed the story." I replied that actually, "the story is just beginning."
What I meant then is that the story of how China would treat Hong Kong, and more importantly how Hong Kong would react to being returned to China, was the real story. And I was right I'm happy to say.
Hong Kong has always been a special place and it remains so, although it does face many challenges. Its role as the gateway to China has diminished as the Mainland has opened up, its role as the financial center of Asia is being challenged by places like Singapore and Shanghai, and it literally is choking on its own success as air pollution threatens to derail its popularity as a place to live and work for the thousands of expatriates who staff the international banks and Fortune 500 companies that have their Asian headquarters here.
It does however, remain a key city in terms of the global economy and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It has one of the largest ports in the world, one of the best airports in the world, and no Asian tour would be complete without stopping in Hong Kong.
Perhaps more importantly for the global economy, it has something that is lacking in Mainland China, the rule of law. This is is illustrated by the fact that usually when a multinational company doing business on the Mainland signs a contract, it contains a standard clause that the contract will be subject to "Hong Kong law" and not Mainland law.
And so like everything else in the world, Hong Kong is changing and will continue to change as it adapts to being a part of China once again. I hope you will read Globalpost often to follow me on my journey as I chronicle the changes Hong Kong will endure.