The United States is certainly the chief culprit in the saga that started with amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and later morphed into a “black revolution”. Nevertheless, a considerable number of Hong Kong residents have deep-seated prejudices or even hostility toward the Chinese mainland — which is an internal factor that cannot be taken lightly.
Their prejudices and animosity can be attributed to two major factors. For some, they have not even set foot on the mainland and are oblivious of the many accomplishments since its reform and opening-up 41 years ago. They also chose to fully accept the biased reports by the anti-China media. And more importantly, a portion of the local population agrees with Western political models and ideologies, as well as their negative propaganda against socialism with Chinese characteristics. We can see this in the many Hong Kong businesspeople benefiting from investment on the mainland while at the same time disagreeing with its political system.
It is worth mentioning that this prejudice and animosity toward the mainland closely matches certain ideologies and theories. Before the current “black revolution”, it was “localism”.
“Localism” demands “non-intervention” from “one country” in “two systems”. It does not advocate Hong Kong independence or believe separatism can succeed, but it is not opposed to this. Although separatists account for only a tiny amount of people in Hong Kong, it is difficult to contain their views as they are condoned by sympathetic localists.
Core values of Hong Kong have not advanced with the addition of “one country”, thus other elements within the core values should be distinctly unique to Hong Kong. As a result, efforts to maintain and promote these core values are bound to mean condoning “localism”, which in turn will inevitably breed “separatism”
Many local residents have placed too much emphasis on the differences between the two ideologies, highlighting that there are only a handful of separatists in Hong Kong. The dangers of Hong Kong independence is therefore underestimated and allowed to linger, while “localism” has intensified.
This intensified “localism” is in fact “separatism”, the underlying factor of the prejudices and animosity toward the mainland ever since the outbreak of the “black revolution”. The anti-extradition-bill movement is the first symptom of “localism” evolving into “separatism”. The slogan of “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” fully exposes their intention to separate Hong Kong from the country while at the same time overthrowing its political system.
What is worthy of attention is the fact that since the human chain “Hong Kong Way” appeared on Aug 23, separatism began to permeate powerfully within the community. The “Hong Kong Way” corresponds to the “Baltic Way” that led to the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 30 years ago. Since that, secessionism not only provides ideological support, but also converges with Hong Kong independence.
On one hand, Hong Kong at this critical junction sees riots going on in every district, and on the other hand, we are witnessing so-called nonviolent protesters joining hands and singing Glory to Hong Kong (a separatist song) at malls across the city. The two groups have colluded to drive Hong Kong to the brink of severance from the mainland.
In such dire circumstances, if anyone thought the crisis could be resolved through dialogue, they are either politically naive or simply employing political deception. Indeed, the evolution of “localism” into “separatism” and the failure to quench Hong Kong’s desire for independence are inextricably linked to the local community’s condoning “localism”, which it confused with the city’s core values.
The core values of Hong Kong were formed during the era of colonial rule. So-called “freedom”, “rule of law”, etc., are important elements that seemingly do not bear any “localism” trademark. Quite the contrary, localism has pervaded these core values. If the mainland is considered “overbearing” or even “dictatorial”, then “freedom” will naturally be a unique feature of Hong Kong. As the two places have different legal systems, the “rule of law” to them should naturally bear characteristics of the common law in Hong Kong. Core values of Hong Kong have not advanced with the addition of “one country”, thus other elements within the core values should be distinctly unique to Hong Kong. As a result, efforts to maintain and promote these core values are bound to mean condoning “localism”, which in turn will inevitably breed “separatism”. Once “separatism” matures, Hong Kong independence will have garnered very powerful forces to support it.
The “black revolution” gives us new warnings of the importance of constructing and advancing ideologies in relation to “one country, two systems”. “Hong Kong’s core values”, “localism” and “separatism” are closely associated with the blind worship of Western culture. French President Emmanuel Macron declared in late August that Western domination has begun to fade and the Chinese model poses great challenges to their Western counterparts. The media and politicians in Hong Kong have paid no attention to Macron’s views. The SAR government must take heed of his comments.
The author is a senior research fellow of China Everbright Holdings.
HONG KONG NEWS