In DepthChina

Hong Kong scientists protest, but also forge mainland ties

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Science  21 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6446, pp. 1118-1119
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6446.1118

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Two million Hong Kong, China, residents—more than one-quarter of the city's population—took to the streets last week in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed residents and visitors to be extradited to mainland China. Even as the government shelved the bill, preserving a key provision of Hong Kong's autonomy, the city's researchers are forging closer ties with mainland colleagues. Collaborations between Hong Kong and mainland researchers have grown tremendously since the former U.K. colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" policy. And ties are growing stronger. Last year, for the first time, the mainland provided grants to support research in Hong Kong. And within the next few months, two new funding programs specifically designed to foster greater cooperation will make their first round of awards. Some worry the joint work could give Beijing greater influence over Hong Kong's research agenda. But, particularly in light of the recent demonstrations, most researchers are confident Hong Kong will maintain its treasured autonomy.