Cowperthwaite was criticised during his time in office for not taxing the people of Hong Kong more, and for ignoring, in particular, education. But has there ever been a more stupendous exercise in business education and everything-else-you-can-think-of education than Hong Kong? Hong Kong has been a University of How To Do It for millions upon millions of Chinese, Chinese who are now struggling to turn China itself from a suicidal and murderous world threat into a creative contributor to the world. The productive and trading templates now being followed in China were mostly devised in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong still provides a huge connection between China and the rest of the world.
So, there is at least a decent chance that China will emerge onto the world stage not as a belligerent superpower in the Soviet mold, but as a creative superpower more like nineteenth century Britain or nineteenth century USA.
That will ultimately depend on the evolution of the Chinese political sphere.
The current dictatorship is passively supporting the demented Iranian regime and the crazy North Korean--causing headaches for the West. Another source of worry is the Chinese work in disputed waters and the constant threats to Taiwan. The vicious anti-Japanese rhetoric from China, and the history between these two nations, doesn't provide much optimism.