Sunday, 20 September 2015

Beijing's Misunderstanding of Hong Kong

Chen Zuo'er claims Hong Kong wasn't "de-colonized" after the handover
Beijing still doesn't understand why Hong Kong isn't becoming "mainlandized" as fast and as well as it think it should be.

The latest to make this comment is Chen Zuo'er, former deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

He claimed that Hong Kong did not "implement de-colonization" after the 1997 handover.

Referring to activists who wave British colonial flags, Chen said: "Because de-colonization wasn't implemented in accordance with the law, things that should be put in the history museum ran into the streets... [At the same time], de-Sinofication, created by colonialists in the 1980s, has revived."

Uh what is de-colonization and what does that entail?

Hong Kong was handed over to the Chinese at midnight
I was here when Hong Kong was handed over to China at midnight on July 1, 1997. There was no program to "de-colonize" the city -- overnight the police changed the insignias on their police caps, mail boxes were painted green, and some royal post boxes were even removed ahead of time. The general sentiment was that many people were happy to be rid of the Brits with hopes things would be better under China.

So what is Chen talking about?

It is the central government that hasn't done a good job in presenting itself as a leadership with integrity, that listens to its people and follows the rule of law. It hasn't done a good public relations exercise nor proper accountability in proving that it is better than the Brits in administering Hong Kong.

In fact quite the opposite.

Hong Kong officials seem to have no idea how to govern the city, seemingly waiting for Beijing to tell them what to do. There is no interest in preserving Hong Kong's unique culture but more importantly there is no vision for the city's future.

Almost a year later what has changed for the better?
For example, the lead tainted water scandal has dragged on for so long and yet we don't even know where the source is. And I checked with the Consumer Council to see which water filters it recommended, only to find it has done no such research. It claims to be an independent body from the government, and yet such information would be useful at a time like now.

The government, both Beijing and Hong Kong, have done nothing to address social tensions between mainlanders and locals, nor critical issues like the wealth gap, poverty and housing.

Chen claimed that Hong Kong's economic development lagged behind Macau's -- though the former Portuguese colony is seeing a 180-degree turn on its fortunes as casino revenues plunge because the big gamblers have disappeared. What kind of comparison is that?

Hong Kong is far more developed than Macau already -- what more can Hong Kong do to bring in more revenue?

The former official is blowing a lot of hot air. These people waving colonial flags are literally a handful of people, and yet the sight of them freaks him out. Chen seems to have no idea what happened almost a year ago and why people occupied various parts of Hong Kong for 79 days.

Beijing doesn't really get it, does it?


  1. I agree. Beijing really doesn't seem to get it -- and I'd say it's no thanks to the Hong Kong administration and the tycoons that Beijing appeared to think would be the key to ensuring the stability and (continued) economic prosperity of Hong Kong.

  2. Hi YTSL -- I don't think the tycoons are involved in the power elite as much as they were before... they seem frustrated by Leung's administration, but probably not as much as us!