Peace and Freedom

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Because he’s worth it. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s recently announced pay raise, to a paltry $22,300 a year, sparked plenty of skepticism that the leader of the world’s largest economy (maybe) was actually earning such a small sum. And Xi’s salary is especially jarring when you consider that the leaders of the special administrative regions China oversees are some of the world’s most well-paid politicians.

Hong Kong’s chief executive CY Leung—who oversees a population of about 7 million people, smaller than nearly all of China’s “Tier 1″ cities—is the world’s second-highest paid head of state. Leung, who is deeply unpopular among Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, recently lifted a lawmaker pay freeze instituted in 2009.

Macau’s chief executive Fernando Chui, who oversees a population of just 566,000 and ran uncontested in 2009, also earns more than most leaders of the world’s biggest economies. His attempts to give more perks to political…

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