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Prominent scholar on Asia insists US-China decoupling is 'impossible'. He finds the standoff between the Beijing government and pro-democracy campaigners to be irreversible, telling the Nikkei Asian Review that "I don't see a happy ending" to the ongoing conflict.
In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, the year-old professor emeritus at Harvard University says, "It's hard to imagine now, at this point, that we could have a really good solution I see a terrible social situation underlying the political struggle.
To him, the root of the conflict lies in the uninterrupted influx of "so many smart and able" mainland Chinese to Hong Kong since the former British colony was handed back to Beijing in Drawing from a much larger population pool, Vogel believes that new mainland immigrants generally have a competitive edge over local Hong Kongers for limited positions in schools and the workplace.
Many in Hong Kong, especially the young, don't see a future, Vogel says, stressing that strong social support is needed in this kind of situation. But this has not been forthcoming from the local government, which is selected by group of mainly pro-Beijing politicians and business elites under a controlled electoral system. They could have avoided this. The Harvard scholar, who began his China studies in Hong Kong in the s, now also feels hopeless about the territory's prospects.
Whether Hong Kong people will be able to live as prosperously as they did before, is unclear. While Vogel notes that Beijing seems to feel the need to use physical force to bring back order, he is hopeful that China "will try very hard to avoid it.