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A SMALL ISLAND and peninsula off the coast of China's Guangdong province, Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997. The motivation for colonization was to open Chinese markets further to British trade and to facilitate the spread of opium within China. A number of large business organizations that were founded in Hong Kong or nearby regions had their origins in this trade, and Hong Kong remains a center for illegal international distribution of opium produced in Yunnan Province and mainland southeast Asia.

For almost all the second half of 20th century, Hong Kong acted as an outpost of capitalism uncomfortably close to communist mainland China. While politically inconvenient to the Chinese Communist Party, Hong Kong was nevertheless extremely useful to many influential Chinese who found ...

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