Thursday, 18 August 2016

Rita Fan Chides Chinese Envoys in Hong Kong

Rita Fan says Chinese envoys need to understand Cantonese to know HK
Finally Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a senior Hong Kong official has explained the fact that senior Chinese officials posted in the city don't know Cantonese has contributed to rising tensions between the mainland and Hong Kong.

She said this led to mainland envoys not having a comprehensive understanding of the social sentiment here. Fan also encouraged the local government to look at why young people were turning to pro-independence and not just criticize them.

Fan is Hong Kong's sole deputy on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and she made the comment during a live online interview with Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing yesterday.

She hints Chinese officials don't go out to experience the city
"You have to live in Hong Kong to know about Hong Kong, not only staying at home alone, but going out to feel the social sentiment," said Fan, who added many mainland envoys here, like those from Beijing's liaison office, only spoke Putonghua.

"You need to feel how [Hong Kong] people feel. You need to feel and understand what makes them happy and what makes them unhappy. But first of all, you need to speak Cantonese, otherwise it will be very difficult."

But at the same time she warned young people that independence from China was not the way out.

"If they succeed [in achieving Hong Kong independence], it will sentence Hong Kong to death. And of course they will also not be able to survive. But unfortunately, millions of other innocent people will also become victims.

"But we need to understand the young people and why they have such ideas. If you just criticize them and say no to this and that, they won't listen.

Why is Fan saying this 2 years after the Umbrella Movement?
"You need to express your views in such a way that they feel comfortable to listen. No one will listen to you if you use the wrong way," Fan said.

Very interesting that Fan has come out now to say these level-headed statements -- but why didn't she say them earlier -- like YEARS earlier, back when locals were angry at having mainlanders invading the city, or even just before or after the Umbrella Movement?

Or has she tried to tell senior mainland officials that they need to understand Cantonese and they didn't listen? Is this her way of trying to get their attention in a very public way?

Fan is saying what many have thought but never said publicly, and it's about time -- oh only 19 years after the handover. It's also intriguing she points out these envoys don't go out and experience what life is like in Hong Kong either.

It is obvious language and cultural issues continue to create conflict and they are not going to go away anytime soon. But what will mainland officials do about it? Are there senior government officials from Guangdong province who speak Cantonese and can be posted here?

Even then there are cultural differences between Cantonese speakers in Guangdong and in Hong Kong.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how Beijing responds to her suggestions -- if its officials are listening...

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