August 9, 2012, by China Policy Institute
Britain, China, Hong Kong. Three Flags. Two nations, but which two nations?
Very interesting indeed to observe some of the online reactions to Hong Kong’s only medal so far in the Olympic Games, London 2012.
Astute and witty, Hong Konger’s have been as assertive as ever and quick to proclaim that the ‘real’ and ‘correct’ national anthem- God Save the Queen- was played during the ceremony that saw Wai Sze Lee receiving her bronze, the gold having been taken by Britain’s Victoria Pendleton in the women’s keirin and the silver by PRC’s Shuang Guo.
The Hong Kong flag was hoisted on the opposite side to the People’s Republic, both in the ‘child position’ to the Union Jack, as if two siblings.
‘Watching as a Hong Kongese wins her Olympic medal, the hoisting of flags and the national anthem being sung. Listening to Britain’s national anthem, not China’s,’ said one forum netizen post.
Another said, ‘Britain is close to Hong Kong. Chinese communism is far away from it.’
‘The biological mother is not so great as the adoptive’ asserted another Hong Konger.
As British people, how can we fail to be proud of our legacy left to Hong Kong, our system and way of life? For one, I feel grateful and honoured that Hong Kong people remember Britain in this positive and happy way. Posts by Hong Kong participants on went on to display disappointment and disgruntlement when reminiscing about the Hong Kong before 1997 and the Hong Kong after it.
I’m sure my superior in all such matters, Dr. Andreas Fulda would agree that these voices need to be heard and not stifled, as increasingly, they feel they are being.
The way of life of the Chinese people who identify themselves as Hong Kongers is associated closely by them with the British heritage of Hong Kong as well as the very special Chinese legacy of Hong Kong.
If Hong Kong doesn’t wish for that to get gradually eroded by anti-regionalist Beijing, why doesn’t the Hong Kong government look more closely at re-joining the Commonwealth of Nations and asserting itself in spite of Beijing? Hong Kong already maintains its Commonwealth links through Commonwealth legal associations and other bodies. If pursued, I’m sure that Her Britannic Majesty would be most delighted to promote the cause.
After the initial wave of shock and displeasure from nationalistic elements, such a move could prove in the end, politically benign. If the Chinese government embraced this sort of action from Hong Kong as a noble proposition, it could show a humble desire to make good of relationships outside of its boundaries.
If the Chinese government were to show more humility in this way, and realize the attractiveness of such a goal, it would win the respect of more people in the China mainland and outside of it, instead of having to try to enforce it against their will and better interests.
Sam Beatson is a PhD candidate in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies
Opinions expressed in the CPI blog do not represent the views of the China Policy Institute or the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham. They are the personal views of the bloggers/authors.