Michael C. Davis: “Who Will Stand Up For Hong Kong?”

Perhaps ever since I realized that Hong Kong was distinct from the rest of China in that it is not under quite the same communist grip and has an atmosphere in which Cantonese thrives, I’ve been wondering this myself. This question took on more meaning when I came to a deeper understanding of democracy and learned that Hong Kong people did not have the right to elect their leaders despite promises of universal suffrage.

This portion of Hong Kong University law professor Michael C. Davis’s op-ed in the New York Times articulates thoughts that have been on my mind recently:

Who will stand up for Hong Kong? Major international banks and accounting firms are toeing Beijing’s line, saying publicly that mass protests will disrupt the city’s economy and threaten the peace. Except for the usual expression of support for “credible” elections, Washington and other foreign governments have largely remained silent on Beijing’s latest moves.

On a side note, a few days ago, I was looking over some journal entries I wrote when I visited Hong Kong four years ago. I was surprised to realize that even though I wasn’t interested in or knowledgeable about Hong Kong politics and democracy and whatnot at the time, I was somewhat aware of political developments in Hong Kong. In 2010, there was the “起錨/Act Now” campaign about electoral reform. I found in one journal entry (June 19) a description of my mom’s conversation with a taxi driver who said my family was lucky to be able to live in the States because we have a real democracy. I wrote this about the democratic reform package: “It will create functional constituencies or something like that. Some think it will lead Hong Kong and China to real democracy; others say Hong Kong’s government will just act as China’s puppet.” Based on something watched on TV, another entry (June 23) read: “Hong Kong was promised a democratic government when it was handed back to China, but [Hong Kong people] can only vote for [Beijing-]selected men. Young people are angry about it — they’ve been fighting for it since the 1980s, and it has spread to people born in the 1980s! Right now, Hong Kong has lots of functional constituencies(?). People in their late 40s to 50s, though, don’t really seem to care — if they can do business and earn money, why should they be sad? Andrew Cheng resigned from the Democratic Party because he felt Beijing would be using Hong Kong (puppet). Donald Tsang, Albert [Ho?] can be seen as traitors or good people for accepting the Beijing plan.” I vaguely remember watching the news on July 1st, but I don’t remember whether I watched reports on the annual demonstration and understood what was going on. Aside from my poor writing style, I was surprised and discouraged to find that Hong Kong’s political situation from four years ago so much resembles that of today. It almost seems as if no progress has been made in these four years, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not hopeful about the impact social groups like Scholarism will make and are making in Hong Kong society…

Some Comments on China’s White Paper on Hong Kong

China both sickens and scares me. But not in the sense that I would suppress my speech to appease it. (All of the following quotes were taken from the People’s Republic of China state mouthpiece People’s Daily.)

The white paper said the policy enjoys growing popularity in Hong Kong, winning the wholehearted support from Hong Kong compatriots as well as people in all other parts of China. It is also thought highly by the international community.

The term “compatriot” eerily rings of communism: compatriot, comrade, communism… The phrase “wholehearted support” would explain the recent June 4th demonstration and the existence of groups like Scholarism, and the whole premise behind the recently-released documentary film, Lessons in Dissent.

The paper called for fully and accurately understanding the meaning of “one country, two systems” policy, saying that “the high degree of autonomy of HKSAR is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership. The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR is not full autonomy, nor a decentralized power.”

So China apparently has no regard for the concept of natural rights, not that that really is a new tidbit of information. And oh, the vagueness of the phrase “a high degree of autonomy.” It’s so intentionally vague, so delicately phrased so that both China and Britain could interpret it as they willed in order to allow the Sino-British Joint Declaration to smoothly come to pass as it did.

The white paper called for resolutely safeguarding the authority of the country’s Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, adding the Hong Kong people who govern Hong Kong “should above all be patriotic.”

I guess you could say Hong Kong people are patriotic. But to whom? If the term “patriotic” could be extended to a city, or if Hong Kong could become an independent country, as some hope, Hong Kong people are considerably patriotic.

Hong Kong

(Image of 2012 protests against National Education from Philippe Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via the New York Times)

Hong Kong people, please fight for your rights.

Mainland Tourists in Hong Kong: Playing with Numbers

I kind of laughed out loud when I saw this New York Times article. I do respect the New York Times as a reputable and fine news source, but I think in general Western media and perhaps all the English-language media I have come across tends to express comments about Hong Kong that make it seem as if they are speaking based on ignorance and/or misunderstanding. Although I do admit, sometimes, Hong Kongers’ rage-filled comments can come off as hate or xenophobia.

But this sentence from The New York Times was just unacceptable.

One thing the new tourism numbers don’t capture is that many of the visitors from mainland China are day trippers who visit Hong Kong on shopping jaunts, so while they may make up seven out of every 10 visitors, their actual imprint on the territory is probably far less substantial.

“[N]ew tourism numbers” refers to the report that mainlanders accounted for 70% of Hong Kong’s 54 million tourists last year, which would mean that about 37.8 million mainland tourists visited Hong Kong in 2013.

Making a conservative estimate going on the assumption that all of the mainlanders who visited Hong Kong last year were on day trips, some quick calculations reveal that around 37.8 million/365 days = >100,000 different mainland Chinese were in Hong Kong each day, which I believe is quite substantial – accounting for over 1% of Hong Kong’s resident population. But given that most mainland Chinese seem to come on weekends and that more than a few mainlanders spend more than a day in Hong Kong, the percentage figure is probably a few points greater. Even from the standpoint of someone who was just visiting Hong Kong two years ago for a few weeks, it is clear that mainland Chinese have a great and far from insubstantial impact on Hong Kong.

Is it so wrong to want to live in your home without being overwhelmed by the daily influx of tourists?

Alex Lo: “Democracy is not a panacea”

I hate how difficult it is for me to find the time and effort to post on this blog (even though it’s the summer!) because of things like summer school and short trips and other thoughts. But I realized that anyhow, it seems the most effective way to find things to write about is to start writing about a topic I want to write about, and somehow somewhat naturally, other topics or more thoughts about the same topic will arise. And so…something I wanted to write about a little while ago when the editorial came out, yet couldn’t find the time to write about:

Alex Lo’s Democracy is not a panacea

(side note: I have not read any of the comments to this editorial.)

Perhaps I differ from Alex Lo in that I would wish to participate in a 7/1 demonstration if given the chance and I sympathize with those who believe that Hong Kong “deserves” democracy. But having lived in the U.S. for all my life, I cannot help but find validity in his words:

Yes, fight for democracy because it embodies human values worth fighting for. But it is not a panacea and may even cause more trouble.

Without a doubt, democracy is a cause worth fighting for. I admire those who try to play a part in turning Hong Kong towards democracy by participating in protests or movements consistently or occasionally or even just as a one-time thing. But it has to be made clear that democracy is not a panacea. It is not a magical cure-all to all of one’s woes, just as communism didn’t cure or fix or amend all of the struggles of the proletariat.

I feel that Hong Kong currently stands in an elusive place between freedom and democracy, and (semi-)oppression and restriction so that democracy seems like the magical cure-all. But democracy isn’t a panacea. Americans who have known one person, one vote democracy  all their life believe they don’t have full democracy or freedom, and complain just as much as Hongkongers at times. They continue to experience poverty, wealth inequality, manipulative politics, and the personal struggles that some Hongkongers believe can be solved with one person, one vote policies.

I didn’t think much of politics or the wondrous joys of democracy until after I learned about Hong Kong and the democracy movements there. The voting rate is low in the U.S.; voting doesn’t seem like something all-so-significant that we must do in electing a leader. It doesn’t seem like such an empowering vehicle through which individuals can make life-saving and beneficial change. It’s just there. Many times, we Americans just ask, what does one vote out of so many million really do? We may talk about democracy and how so-and-so country or region’s people are justified in their fight for democracy, but we don’t think of democracy as a privilege; it’s the default.

Yet even so, I want to believe–or at least hope–that Hong Kong will be different. There are only seven million in Hong Kong (and less eligible voters due to harsh immigration laws against non-ethnic Chinese residents and the existence of an underage population). I feel that that alone makes it significantly easier to implement change, as it seems that as of now, Hongkongers want democracy for just local Hong Kong politics. But will Hongkongers’ drive remain as strong and stubborn as protestors’ recent cries and persistence? Will Hongkongers really care about democracy and believe that their individual votes count? At times believing in the strength of one vote seems foolish, but at the same time, it’s admirable in its optimism despite its foolishness.

Hong Kong people already exercise their freedom of speech more than Americans, but would they too do the same with democracy?

What “Xiqu Centre” Really Means

When I searched “Xiqu Centre” on the Internet, I came across an article where the comments largely voiced the opinion that the Chinese opera center to be erected in West Kowloon is rightfully named “Xiqu” because “Xiqu” is Chinese opera in its native language.

But I felt that those comments were missing the point. Because what first came to my mind was that “Xiqu” may be used to denote “Chinese opera,” but “Xiqu” is not the native term of Hong Kong, the place where the center is to be built. The matter of calling the center “Xiqu” is not about whether or not it is appropriate to give a building an English name based on its native pronunciation; in certain instances, this is okay. However, this issue is about whether it is okay to call something in English/romanized characters according to its pronunciation in a language that is neither English nor native to the area.

The proposed center is to highlight Cantonese opera – a musical genre of the Cantonese-speaking regions that is comparable to western opera. This center will be in Hong Kong – a predominantly Cantonese-speaking community. Cantonese opera, in its native language, is pronounced jyut6 kek6 (粵劇), or if using the general term “Chinese opera,” the Cantonese pronunciation is hei3 kuk1. “Xiqu” is not only a name foreign to potential non-ethnic Chinese tourists to Hong Kong, but also to the people who invented the very musical genre itself, and were the first to accept and enjoy it. [My grandma has long enjoyed Cantonese opera, and she surely would not understand the term “Xiqu” even if it were pronounced in perfect Mandarin.] I think that undermining the differences between Cantonese and Mandarin, along with those between Hong Kong and the Mainland, does a great deal of harm to the culture of Cantonese HongKongers. Mandarin is by no means the native language, yet is asserted by mainland Chinese and westerners alike as if it is. Hong Kong is considered subject to the People’s Republic of China or the Chinese Communist Party even as it does not seem rightfully so.

Such instances of imposition of Mandarin or Mainland culture on Hong Kong people perhaps are not too big of a deal if they remain small and isolated, but they are very capable of igniting more anti-PRC/CCP sentiment within Hong Kong and leading HongKongers to believe that they can only protect themselves by waving the Hong Kong colonial flag or by declaring their desires for Hong Kong independence. And Beijing’s (at times, over-exaggerated) responses only further fuel anti-“Chinese” sentiment within Hong Kong, as HongKongers identify such governmental actions as infringements on the Basic Law and on Hong Kong’s autonomy and on civil rights. While obviously not quite extreme, such events remind me of the American Revolution and the British government’s mishandling of the situation as in trying to quell very preliminary signs of revolution, the government turned to aggression that only exacerbated the anti-mainland sentiment.

In the U.S., we talk about embracing diversity and learning “foreign” languages spoken by some of our peers – Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc. On the other hand, in China, you are taught to speak Mandarin first (understandably, to communicate with others) at the expense of your native “dialect” (which is actually a topolect): Confine the context in which you speak your native language to your close family and few friends; refrain from speaking it outside; it is improper because it is not attached to a recognized independent state. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the reason why Cantonese and other “dialects” cannot be recognized as “languages” is primarily due to politics. Because Europe is made up of many independent states while China is just one independent state made up of dependent provinces. Politics, in terms of language, means that yours is irrelevant if it is not unique to or recognized by an independent state as a national language.

In situations like this, I cannot help but muse that Hong Kong’s autonomy either needs to be enforced (perhaps by foreign countries, as much as this seems impossible), or Hong Kong needs independence.*

But really, I can’t help but fear: what’s next? Will Hong Kong really become “Xianggang”?

*Again, impossible, but I can dream, right?

What June 4 and July 1 Mean to Hong Kong People

(Image: CNN)

Under British rule, Hong Kong prospered with foreign investments, remaining safely distanced and protected from whatever turmoil occupied the mainland time after time. Witnessing the Communist Revolution and all the disastrous events that followed, Hong Kong people increasingly felt assured by the peace and order they found in British rule; to be told that this wouldn’t last – that Hong Kong belonged to China, and that it would surely return – was devastating. It is safe to say that Hong Kong’s history of British rule has instilled in its people a deep, overwhelming sense of entitlement to democracy – universal suffrage – even as China continues in its communist ways. And it is this legacy of British rule that has compelled some Hong Kong people to take up the burdening responsibility of attempting (in the least) to protect their freedoms, perhaps in ways that even those residing in democratic states currently do not. Most notably, Hong Kong people organize on two specific dates – June 4 and July 1 – yearly in an assertion of their current freedom and a demonstration of their collective desire for real democracy.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, in 1989, a respected politician’s death spurred student-led demonstrations in Beijing and other cities; at first, demonstrators wanted reform, but later on, the protests became more radical with some hunger strikes and some demands for democracy. Wikipedia claims that 1.5 million participated in a pro-democracy march in Hong Kong on May 21, 1989.

On the night of June 3, tanks were brought into Beijing and Tiananmen Square where many were demonstrating (as stated by Wikipedia as I have no recollection of the events). A South China Morning Post opinion article provides some thoughts and information on the protests.

Every year since, Hong Kong people have organized candlelight vigils on June 4 in Victoria Park in remembrance of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and those who died in the massacre. Last year’s vigil saw a larger turnout: organizers estimated 180,000 in attendance; the death of political activist Li Wangyang days after additionally sparked political outcry (pictures included here).

(Image: Alanala)

(Image: Alanala)

Alanala, a Hong Kong photography blog, provides pictures and accounts of some of the activities on and surrounding June 4 in 2012.

(Image: Alanala)

(Image: Alanala)

Meanwhile, July 1 marks the anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China; the British and other westerners call it the “handover,” while in Chinese I’ve only heard it been referred to as the “return.” While July 1 is a public holiday that features various festivities, celebrations, and fireworks, thousands take to the streets to voice their concerns or dissatisfaction with the government and the current state of affairs; organizers estimated that ~400,000 took to the streets in 2012. [It seems that a moderately credible place that has compiled much apparently accurate information in a relatively succinct manner about the July 1 marches is Wikipedia.]

What really spurred me to write about these mass demonstrations of Hong Kong people was learning once again about the March on Washington in 1963 for civil rights (perhaps deriving much of its fame from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s deliverance of his “I Have a Dream” speech there) and how much emphasis some Americans put on both the demonstration and the speech; I couldn’t help but find it unfair that it seems that most Americans and many of those who are ethnic Chinese regard Hong Kong as just a part of China, and do not realize how much political activism these Hong Kong people constantly undertake year after year. I in part opened this blog to ask questions like this – why does the world not pay as much attention to Hong Kong? Hong Kong, this small city boasts so many in attendance year after year: Hong Kong’s population is a little over 7 million, and yet even the conservative police estimates of the attendance of 2012’s July 1 protest – 63,000 – means that about more than 1 in 120 Hong Kong citizens protested last year. If we were to use the liberal estimate of 400,000, that would mean that more than 1 in 20 people participated. (I would assume that the actual participation in this protest is between these two figures.) Just thinking about those figures alone is honestly quite astounding. Hong Kong people are so vocal about their desire for democracy, yet it seems very few actually hear them; at times it seems as if only the Chinese government recognizes these grievances (and consequently passive-aggressively tries to assert dominance of Hong Kong and affirm that Hong Kong would die without its “help”).

I will just say that I believe I would be satisfied if the world recognized Hong Kong’s overwhelming desire for democracy, and that Hong Kong people are not satisfied with Hong Kong’s current state of affairs with “one country, two systems”; that even as “one country, two systems” is always described as granting Hong Kong people a liberal amount of autonomy and freedom, it is not enough. An increasing number of Hong Kong people – especially those called ” ’90 後” in Chinese, or the generation of those born after 1990 – are not satisfied with pseudo-democracy that in fact denies them one of the most important aspects of democracy: one person, one vote; universal suffrage to elect members to Hong Kong’s legislative body and to ultimately directly elect Hong Kong’s chief executive.

I won’t say that many Hong Kong people are trying to achieve Hong Kong’s independence through these demonstrations, but during these demonstrations, it can seem as if Hongkongers’ views are so different from those of the mainland Chinese government and that the “Hong Kong” government is so unresponsive to their grievances that ideally, Hong Kong could achieve independence and democracy. Taking reality into perspective, this is very much unfeasible since it has been years since the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in 1984.

Of course it’s always nice that Hongkongers can even publicly remember the Tiananmen Square Massacre and continue to protest the government, but if the [mainland] government holds so much jurisdiction that the local [Hong Kong] government does not even bother responding to their needs, is Hong Kong really that much better off? “A high degree of autonomy” still is not democracy and it seems that the vagueness of such a phrase allows the mainland government to interpret it however it may wish, as long as Hong Kong has relatively more freedom and autonomy than the People’s Republic of China.

And so my internal struggle also continues – is hoping that Hong Kong will change for the better and even possibly shaping my life and future based on my desire to help Hong Kong society in some way naive? Am I too young and too small to actually spark or contribute to change in Hong Kong? And even if Hong Kong achieved true autonomy and democracy and freedom, would Hong Kong people be happy and satisfied – would their desire to participate in government so dramatically diminish (much to my disappointment) if they were to achieve it?

(Image: Alanala)

(Image: Alanala)

I feel so morally and socially compelled to help Hong Kong in some way, but I don’t know if such sentiment is just part of a fleeting phase of childish and youthful optimism on my part; but at the same time, even as I enjoy the other subjects I am considering pursuing, I do not feel I could really benefit society by pursuing careers in them. Another question I ask myself is, if I were to make an active and prolonged effort to help Hong Kong, would I find myself in a place of unemployment?

Margaret Thatcher and the Handover of Hong Kong

I was wandering around on the Internet last Thursday (as I often do) when I came across the British record of Margaret Thatcher’s meeting with Deng Xiaoping as they started formal talks about the future of Hong Kong in 1982. As I wasn’t even born in 1982, this was my first time learning about this talk and the roles and stances Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping took on Hong Kong’s future status; I only knew that basically, in the 1980s, Great Britain eventually caved into China’s demands and decided to return Hong Kong to China.

I can’t help but find such documentation of certain historical events like this fascinating; reading of the adamance of both Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping at the time, I found it somewhat miraculous that the sides came to an agreement, albeit a very flawed one that Hong Kong people are currently bearing the repercussions of. After reading the British record of the events, I felt compelled (as I often do with Hong Kong-related news) to search for more to read about the handover. And here is what I read. (Note: The reason for the delay in this post is that I read up on Margaret Thatcher and Hong Kong as I was supposed to pack for a trip the next day…along with finish up some work due the next day. Procrastination at its best?)

I’ve also never read [at-one-time-secret] official government accounts of diplomatic discussions; and despite Thatcher’s failure to secure long-term British administration of Hong Kong, I can’t help but feel her initial “Iron Lady”-type obstinacy commendable:

British Record of Meeting Between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping at the Great Hall of the People on Friday 24 September [1982] at 10:30 AM

Additional readings, published(?) by British news agencies the Independent and the Telegraph, respectively:

How Mrs Thatcher Lost Hong Kong: Ten years ago, fired up by her triumph in the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher flew to Peking for a last-ditch attempt to keep Hong Kong under British rule – only to meet her match in Deng Xiaoping. Two years later she signed the agreement handing the territory to China

As this was written in 1992, I wonder if the [British or Western] public opinion of the 1990s on the upcoming transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong was likewise bleak and pessimistic, and if Britain or the West actually cared about Hong Kong’s future political outlook (as it is quite apparent in present-day that Hong Kong has been driven almost completely off the radar). Written in narrative form, it brings the events to life in full color; I believe this is an excerpt from a book published in 1993, titled The End of Hong Kong: The Secret Diplomacy of Imperial Retreat.

And something comforting yet at the same time disheartening:

My regrets over Hong Kong by Lady Thatcher

I feel a bit comforted knowing that some important non-Chinese people do indeed think of Hong Kong at times, albeit Thatcher who most certainly should as the British representative who signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration herself. But of course, the disheartening part comes into play as Thatcher, like many (myself included), regrets Hong Kong’s current situation, or at least the fact that it is indeed back in China’s power now.

And so you have it, part one* of my readings about Margaret Thatcher and the handover of Hong Kong.

*assuming I will have time to revisit the 1980s in the future when I might find myself less busy

Chinese: Dialects, Topolects, or Languages?

Growing up, my idea of “Chinese” was Cantonese. As an ethnic Chinese born and raised in the States, I primarily encountered English on a regular basis outside and Cantonese at home; I rarely encountered Mandarin when I was young, or even when I did, I didn’t know it was also “Chinese.” My parents and all of their Chinese friends primarily spoke Cantonese, I attended a Chinese school that held instruction in Cantonese, and frequented a Chinatown in which most people I saw as Chinese spoke Cantonese.

Thus, identifying as “Chinese” at school and in the greater American community, Cantonese and Chinese were the same to me. I was Chinese, I spoke Chinese, I went to Chinese school and learned Chinese; in all situations, Chinese seemed synonymous for Cantonese. But perhaps I first learned of Mandarin in first grade when some classmates were also Chinese, but didn’t quite speak the same. It was much later that I learned about “Chinese” in a more general sense – the plethora of “dialects” and the differences between simplified and traditional Chinese.

In recent times, as I find myself more perceptive of people’s perspectives on “Chinese,” I have observed some young family friends (10 years old and younger) who are also American-born Chinese and their perceptions of “Chinese.” In a sense, they are more tied to their Chinese roots than me: they continued to primarily speak Cantonese with parents and schoolteachers perhaps even up to age 10 (while Cantonese was never really the main language I used) and learned Mandarin in Chinese school, additionally visiting Hong Kong quite much more frequently than me (about every other year). But moving on from their backgrounds, perhaps this is telling of Chinese people’s natural perspectives of “Chinese” – these children refer to Cantonese just as “Chinese.” If speaking about both Cantonese and Mandarin, for example, they might ask, “Does he speak Chinese or Mandarin?” In this way, with their frequent visits to Hong Kong, I feel that they have developed the concept of Hong Kong specifically (in contrast to Guangdong or the whole of China) being their ethnic “Chinese” home – where Chinese people speak Cantonese, what they perceive as “Chinese.”

Speaking from my experience and how I believe these young children perceive “Chinese,” from a non-political standpoint, it seems rather odd to deem your native tongue a mere second-class “dialect” when you feel it is a complex and complete language in itself — one you can fully express yourself in. Additionally, while being told that you are “Chinese” and speak “Chinese,” you can’t help but see little reason to make a distinction and call the “Chinese” you speak – Cantonese – something other than “Chinese.”

But in another sense, I think that our interpretations of “Chinese” reveals some disconnect between the way we think about and speak of dialects or languages in English and Chinese. In Chinese, we call Cantonese and Mandarin “方言,” which is seen as the Chinese equivalent of “dialect.” But as this academic paper, Language or Dialect—or Topolect? A Comparison of the Attitudes of Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese towards the Status of Cantonese, suggests, “topolect” seems like a more accurate translation of “方言” and classification of “Cantonese” and “Mandarin”: regional speech. And although reading such a paper may seem like a daunting and laborious task, I would highly recommend it to those interested in thoroughly learning what we should call Chinese “dialects” and why. (Otherwise, I think the abstract (page 3) would suffice.) As a paper published about five years ago (it was published in February 2008), this paper is relatively recent; I found it in part intriguing because of its relevancy to the current(ly being molded) identity of Cantonese in Hong Kong. (In other words, you should read it.)

Language or Dialect—or Topolect? A Comparison of the Attitudes of Hong Kongers and Mainland Chinese towards the Status of Cantonese, is just one of many Sino-Platonic Papers at the University of Pennsylvania which present research centered on East Asian studies. While exploring the site, I have also found a paper more on Chinese in general: What Is a Chinese “Dialect/Topolect”? Reflections on Some Key Sino-English Linguistic Terms. Although I have yet to read this latter paper, perhaps it would be informative and suitable for those more interested in linguistics and Chinese in general (as evident, I tend to focus on information and readings primarily relevant to Cantonese).

(Yay for happy and leisurely academic readings!)

Resolving the China Infant Formula Crisis

Just thinking about the recent happenings in Hong Kong, Australia, the Netherlands, and so many places, it seems that it’s mainly Hong Kong people and mainland Chinese debating what should be done. And I too have spent some time asking myself, Are the newly-imposed restrictions on taking Hong Kong infant formula out the best way to combat such a problem? Are Hong Kong people being over-sensitive? Are mainland Chinese being over-sensitive? Is either side in the wrong, and if so, how much? (and so on.)

But when it all boils down to what’s at the core, I think the real issue about this doesn’t necessarily involve questions like,

Should Hong Kong not restrict trade? Are Hong Kong people “jealous” of mainland Chinese and discriminatory against them? Do mainland Chinese downright lack ethics? Is this evidence that mainland Chinese are coming to dominate Hong Kong little by little? Continue reading

Hong Kong News Written by Hong Kong People

It’s ridiculous how underrepresented and misrepresented Hong Kong people are in Western media. Sure, Hong Kong is no longer a British colony and is politically a “special administrative region” of the People’s Republic of China, but just because people come to have a new political identity doesn’t mean that their views will likewise change to that of people in the state.

I don’t know how Germans felt when Germany was reunified, but anyhow, many Hong Kong people fled before 1997, fearing communist repression and many who stayed aren’t feeling the love or oneness that they supposedly should. It’s a bit different when you’re “returning” after about 100 years and when the state that you’re “returning” to evidently represses individual freedoms more than the state you formerly belonged to did. Continue reading