Thaksin and the Lessons of Hong Kong

If Thaksin Shinawatra wants to serve Thailand well, he should tout the virtues of Hong Kong, his recent home. Two stand out: a largely uncorrupt, efficient, transparent, and accountable government, and an open and competitive economy.

HONG KONG – Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was gracious when he ended his exile in Hong Kong: “Thank you, Hong Kong, for having me here, so warmly. Hong Kong is a destination where I would always like to come.”

If Thaksin is sincere, he could serve Thailand by bringing back a few of his host city’s more admirable virtues. Two stand out: a largely uncorrupt, efficient, transparent, and accountable government, and an open and competitive economy.

Hong Kong is, of course, by no means perfect: Mainland China’s politics and habits are slowly infecting the island. Nevertheless, Transparency International, the world’s premier corruption rating agency, ranked Hong Kong as the 14th cleanest society in 2007.

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