On my way to Victoria Peak I am surrounded by beautiful natural forests. Almost natural. The paths are cobbled, and every hundred yards is a sign on how to behave in the forest. The walk to the top of Victoria Mountain is a welcoming break away from the noise and heavy traffic in the city. A viewing platform guarantees the best view on the city’s skyline, as far as the smog allows this. With a historic cable car visitors can avoid a steep ascent to the viewpoint. Before I could enjoy the view, however, I had to walk through a multi-storey shopping centre with countless restaurants. My recovery was quickly gone.
Until 1997, Hong Kong was a british colony. But even with the union, it retained special rights. As a special administrative area, Hong Kong enjoys largely autonomy with its own political and economic system. The last year have shown that this autonomy is fading. Beijing holds the authority in military matters and in diplomacy. With the integration, Hong Kong has triggered a catalyst effect for the entire region. The adjacent areas experienced an unprecedented economic upturn. The negative effects also included the fact that Hong Kong and the region became known for drug and human trafficking. Part of Chinas collective memory is the defeat of the imperial empire of China against the British Empire in the first opium war (1839-42). In consequence, China lost Hong Kong to the United Kingdom. It had to open its markets and endure the opium trade – with serious repercussions on Chinese historiography.
Already after two days I took the express train to go to the Chinese mainland to climb in the wonderful environment of Yangshuo. Unfortunately, I only discovered too late, that there are some sport climbing areas in the mountains of Hong Kong as well.