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China Changes the Subject in Hong Kong

Nov 11 , 2014

As hedge fund managers declare victory with the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock link, don't forget the obvious loser: the city's pro-democracy movement.

For almost seven weeks, the students who have commandeered key streets around Hong Kong have sought modest concessions from Beijing. They probably would've folded their tents long ago if President Xi Jinping had signaled he might, perhaps, maybe let Hong Kongers choose their own leader at some vague point in the years ahead. The angry masses might've even settled for the slightest hint that unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying might step down early.  

But Xi hasn't just held his ground — he's managed to shift it right underneath the protesters. All it took was saying yes to the long-anticipated Shanghai-Hong Kong exchange link that allows for $3.8 billion of daily cross-border purchases, a limit regulators will increase if the link is a success.

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