Know Your Rights

Hong Kong has one land border: a 30-kilometer stretch that separates the territory from the Chinese mainland. With no hassle at all, ordinary Kelvins and Cecilias can cross over into China by car or train to sightsee, buy counterfeit handbags, enjoy a cheap pedicure or patronize a nasty nightclub. Some 125,000 Hong Kongers do it every day. And nearly 17,000 mainlanders, along with the occasional infectious disease, pass them daily, going the other way.

The sturdiest boundary between the mainland and Hong Kong can actually be found in a soft-cover, 69-page pamphlet painstakingly drafted in the 1980s and...

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