Friday, 18 January 2013

Still No Common Ground

Protesters waving colonial Hong Kong flags in front of the Liaison Office
China doesn't understand -- some Hong Kong people just aren't into it.

And it's this lost in translation that has the Chinese government misinterpreting the feelings of young Hong Kong people as not understanding the mainland.

Apparently Beijing is "gravely concerned" that Hong Kong youth lack a sense of national identity.

"The reason why they see a problem is that polls have found that more people identified themselves as Hong Kongers instead of Chinese," said a letter written by vice-chairman Li Jianguo of the Standing Committee. "Some have even waved the old Hong Kong flag, and there was strong opposition to the introduction of national education."

More than 15 years after the handover, Beijing doesn't realize there is a huge divide.

Hong Kong is mostly made up of families who fled China because they feared the Communists coming to power. And from the sidelines they watched the political and social upheavals from the 1949 Revolution, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, saw how Mao controlled the country and ruled it on his whims.

While much has changed since then, there are still many other ills associated with China that Hong Kong people don't want to be linked with -- systemic corruption, lack of rule of law and the exponential environmental problems just to name a few.

What is there for Hong Kong people to be truly proud of China apart from athletes who win medals at the Olympics every four years?

They see mainlanders invading Hong Kong streets and stores, speaking loudly, urinating and spitting on the street, and buying up all kinds of commodities from milk powder to luxury brands, driving up rents.

Why do Hong Kong people wave the colonial flag? It's not necessarily that they want the British to come back, but they are nostalgic for what they had before.

The Chinese also have an insistence that things should be seen from its perspective without understanding others' viewpoints.

But if it wants Hong Kong to be closer to China, it has to really clean up house to show it is transparent and willing to listen.

Until that happens, people are going to continue to be distrustful of the mainland and tensions will only increase.

2 comments:

  1. Hear, hear re what you wrote in this post!

    Re urinating: It's not just on the streets but I've also seen a Mainland boy urinating into a glass in a restaurant here in Hong Kong... :(

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  2. Yikes! I've heard of that on the plane, but in a restaurant! That's gross!

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