Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Malcolm Merry on Reforming Hong Kong's Small House Policy

South China Morning Post
3 June 2015
Criticism of Hong Kong's small house policy and suggestions to change it have force but they do not address the arguments of the indigenous community or show understanding of the rural viewpoint.
     To older indigenous people, the turning of the small-house right into money is an exercise of traditional freedoms and a form of participation in the prosperity that Hong Kong has enjoyed during the past 60 years. In that time, the old stability and certainties of their communities have gone. A quiet farming life, centred on village, family, custom and land, has given way to a hectic, more commercial existence.
     Those that held land near the new towns have seen the government take it and sell it to developers who in turn have made handsome profits from building flats there, so that purchasers from town can live in more pleasant conditions. For much of this period, the property market has boomed.
    It is surely no coincidence that the small house policy, which provides subsidised land for the building of houses for indigenous families, was introduced during an era of great expansion of public rental housing and construction of new towns. The policy was seen by rural folk as a reward for their cooperation... Click here to read the full article.

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