Metropark Hotel Has Been Converted to China’s State Security Headquarters In Hong Kong

The Metropark Causeway Bay hotel, with its rooftop pool overlooking Victoria Harbor, has been one of Booking.com’s “top picks in Hong Kong.” Now in the words of one pro-democratic member of Hong Kong’s legislature, it’s “a visual and physical reminder that big brother is watching.”

Not since the conversion of the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh into a Saudi torture site has a hotel’s transformation from home away from home to instrument of the state so quickly. The Causeway Bay Metropark is now the Office for Safeguarding National Security – transformed in a day.


    Credit: Metropark Causeway Bay

A hotel employee answered the phone Wednesday saying the property was closed. And indeed it’s now the headquarters for the agency created by China’s national security law for Hong Kong.

From there employees, who will live and work on premises, will coordinate enforcement of the legislation which outlaws subversion and ‘collusion with foreign forces’. (Anyone who speaks out against Beijing is doing the bidding of China’s enemies, natch.)


Credit: Metropark Causeway Bay

The hotel was owned by China Travel Service, a state agency. It was simple to take over. The location is also clearly meant to be symbolic: opposite Victoria Park, which has been home to the city’s annual candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre.

My formative years saw David Hasselhoff singing “Looking for Freedom” atop the Berlin Wall (1989) and Scorpions singing “Winds of Change” (1991) as the Soviet Union prepared to fall.

It was an optimistic time filled with hope for the future of people around the world who would be able to write their own destinies as they saw fit. Looking back the hopefulness of this era seems so, and I feel so, naive. In both security policy and economics we’ve forgotten which direction traffic flowed over the Berlin Wall.

Hong Kong and Kowloon were ceded in perpetuity in the 19th century to Great Britain, and the New Territories were ceded until 1997 just before the turn of the century. In 1984 the U.K. and China agreed that the entire area would revert to mainland China in 1997, but Hong Kong’s market-oriented institutions would remain in place for 50 years – through 2047.

The quarter of the entire Hong Kong population that turned out in protests was well aware of what can happen to anyone defying the Chinese state. And while they talk about ‘free elections’ what they don’t seek to be merely one vote in support of Beijing, they want freedom. I found the protests inspiring.

Tell me you can watch this from last summer without tearing up?

“Do You hear the people sing,” by the way, is banned in China.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. STOP TALKING SUCH KIND OF THINGS.

    YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT CHINA!!!

    YOU ARE A GOOD BLOGGER ON TRAVEL, BUT NOT A GOOD WRITER ON POLITICALS.

    LET ME TELL YOU, WHAT HAPPENED IN HONGKONG IS NOT WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN FROM THOSE FAKE NEWS ON USA MEDIA

  2. Those stuck shift keys can be quite annoying.

    I am finding it very difficult to find things I want that are not made in China.

  3. BLUESKY sound like a Red China Communist Bot. (Bad English gives them away)
    I will Never travel to China again. I now consider Red China to be a Terrorist Nation.

  4. I don’t think you are allowed to call them Red China anymore. It might hurt their feelings…

  5. Do we plan on putting boots on the ground to stop them? No? Maybe decouple our economy from China’s? No?

    Bluster about how bad it is and do nothing? Ah sounds about right.

    Push comes to shove, our opinion does not matter. It is not our land and we aren’t going to fight for it.

  6. This is a reply for Alan’s comments:

    Alan, you are not welcome to China. Please do not come to China forever.

    My English is not as good as you, however, you have such a bad heart and discrimination. 你很无知,你知道么?愚昧且短见的西方人说的就是你。你就不能学一下比尔盖茨那样的西方有志之士。

    I would like to ask guys like you some questions——

    Where do you receive information about China?
    Have you been to China and stay for enough time to learn about it?

    Never judge others from your limited knowege.

  7. Hey Bluesky. I’ve been to China, and I have lots of firsthand information about it. Taipei is a wonderful city.

    Now, that commie abomination that the brainwashed call China? Nah. You can keep it.

  8. Clearly, BLUESKY isn’t a Uighur or other minority whom the repressive and dictatorial government considers to be a threat. No, otherwise BLUESKY would be writing comments from a concentration camp like these poor people: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-concentrationcamps-idUSKCN1S925K

    And the poor Hong Kongers will be next because their new rulers never intended to live up to their agreements with the UK. In other words, they are communists.

  9. BLUESKY YOU SILLY WUMAO

    I’m not sure how you were able to stumble across this site maybe you used a VPN in glorious motherland or you’re one of those 共匪 (communist bandits) that use free speech in the west to suppress those you don’t agree with. Just stay in CCP land if you love it so much. Stop being a cancer to everyone else.

  10. @John

    You are correct. Taiwan is the legitimate carrier of true Chinese tradition and values and mainland China (CCP) is simply a watered down, hollow place following outdated draconian Western communist marxist rhetoric mixed up in a kleptocratic opaque and corrupt dictatorship. Silly wumao like BLUESKY have ZERO critical thinking skills being brought up in the western Russo/German FAKE Chinese CCP education system.

  11. no need to engage with people like BLUESKY at all, a waste of time all around.

    Gary, it is nice of you to pick up this story. I guess it is kind of travel related as people won’t be able to book this hotel anymore (though some may still get to stay there for “free” and against their will).

  12. Wow the Red China trolls flew into this one fast. no real surprise they showed up given the misinformation campaigns on twitter and fb (which are banned in China).

  13. Xi Jinping = Joseph Stalin = Mao Zedong = Adolf Hitler = Pol Pot.

    I could go on. I worked in Hong Kong and really enjoyed the city and the people. I feel so bad for them.

    Taiwan = China. Red China = Armpit.

  14. Chicoms,

    ( sigh ), What can ya say??? I’ve spent considerable time in China, as well as Hong Kong, ( Hong Kong was always remarkably different from Red China, ( until NOW )! I have spent some time in Red China as well, ( Kashgar and Kun Ming ). The Han s/CCP are a pox on humanity with their own forced genocides against the minority native mountain tribes, the Tibetans and Guigeurs, etc. The Chicoms are even now giving Hitler and Stalin a good run for their money, just like Mao did with his Red Guards in the 60’s “cultural revolution”, that had confirmed reeducation/concentration camps along with cannibalism to join in with the starvation. I’m almost 70, and I remember! If the world wants to see a replay/repeat, just keep on appeasing Xi Pooh and the boys.

  15. I’ve been to China and Hong Kong multiple times since the early 1980’s. What exactly is it that we don’t understand?

    Seriously here is your chance to tell us what you feel is really going on.

  16. Our biggest mistake, when it comes to China, was expecting that economic liberalization would lead to political liberalization. We were wrong. It is troubling in a lot of ways, and I fear that many countries are looking toward China and seeing how they can replicate its success (take the economic gains of globalization with none of the political freedoms).

  17. Talk is cheap. Western economies really need to phase out any dealings with China. Give companies time to move manufacturing to Vietnam and India (or any other non-communist country of your choice). Let China trade with North Korea.

  18. Tim L,

    You’re quite correct about most of that! However, there ARE more than a few marked differences between them, and the CCP! I haven’t seen Vietnam, OR Cambodia reclaiming dredged islands and building military facilities on them throughout the S China Sea? For THAT matter, I haven’t observed, nor heard of any hill tribes or other minority groups being rounded up and incarcerated by the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, into concentration, ( err, “re-education” ), camps, along with forced sterilization? I also haven’t heard too many reports of economic patent theft and infringement/technology theft by Vietnam or Cambodia either? I’m also not aware of any happenings taking place in SE Asia that were similar to Tianaman Square? Neither have Vietnam or Cambodia unilaterally abrogated anything like the 50 year agreement on the ’97 handing back of Hong Kong, ( which was supposed to remain in effect until 2017 )? That said Hung Sen has most certainly turned Kampuchea and the remains of the Khymer empire into an autocratic kleptocracy!

  19. Hong Kong as of last year’s failed revolution (not riots) had already become a no go place. When covid hit and with the implementation of the latest “security” law, it was strike two and three. Not to mention that one cannot enter at the moment unless one is a hk citizen (and even then, the need to be quarantined for two weeks).

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