October 5, 2012, by China Policy Institute
Why Is The British Colonial Flag Being Raised Again In Hong Kong?
by Sam Beatson
The following is an edit of an interview conducted online using a chat interface. Brian Cheung (anonymized) is a 19 year old student majoring in Communication in Hong Kong who was involved in recent protests on July 1st against ‘national education’. This protest has been followed in Hong Kong by further raising of the colonial flag against ‘smuggling’ at the Shenzhen boundary and in protests calling for cancellation of the October 1st National Day.
BC: … July 1, the celebration day of the handover…was my first time to protest. I felt that many things had been deteriorating in Hong Kong and had reached a level that was intolerable. Additionally, I was influenced by an increasingly popular online radio studio, called Hong Kong People Reporter. They encouraged their audience to step out and take action.
SB: What specifically was ‘Reporter’ asking you to protest about?
BC: The governance that we feel resentment against- there were and still are problems. The most important one is the penetration of the Power exerted by the CPC. Many of the populace of Hong Kong think that there exists a hidden secret agenda of the government ordered by the CPC.
SB: As a young adult, how do you feel or experience this penetration of power in your life?
BC: It is difficult to define. We find that there are many more pressures and resentments. The government is increasingly under the control of the CPC. Not only does the Chief Executive(s) formulate policies after something that has been said by the CPC leaders, like the national education brainwashing, the voting system has long been rigged. At the local level, the District council and the Legislative Council elections are rigged by transfer of benefits and manipulation of some illiterate elderly and the handicapped.
These matters are widely publicised in local media. They give out bags of rice, dumplings, free meals and many other items. Of course I am talking about the pro-establishment parties. The ex-CE, Donald Tsang, a UK-honoured person has been accused of transfer of benefits. And the present CE in office had an illegal structure at his luxury house, but what is ironic and enraging is that he used his opponent’s shortcoming which was again an illegal structure, to attack him.
SB: On your webpage you promote the British Hong Kong flag, you also assert “it is a stark truth that under foreign administration/rules the Chinese culture is better preserved.” Can you tell me more about this view amongst your peers from your experience?
BC: First, some of the people would like Hong Kong to return to British Administration, as a colony, or to seek development of democracy under British help. Secondly, some of them loved conditions in the 70s, 80s or 90s under British admin. Thirdly, some of them have a flag which includes only the Lion-Dragon emblem. These strive for high autonomy, which was actually and very vaguely promised by the Chinese govt. but was found gradually infringed upon.
SB: Is there anything you’d like to add to sum things up? For example, what would you like to be the outcome of your protests?
BC: To sum up, I think that we should stamp out the influence of the CPC, or put a limit to it. I am not very sure about a totally independent HK, but to remain and recover high autonomy and HK people ruling by HK principles is most important. The agenda I mentioned was orders given directly to the CE to impose national education, reflecting CPC bossiness. Generally, we Hongkongers have negative thoughts about China. They promised us freedom and democracy but it is still largely unachieved up to now. I personally believe that they are unwilling to give us what is promised. It feels we are being forcefully assimilated into a mainland society that does not possess the civic qualities we HongKongers have and generally behave according to.
Sam Beatson is a PhD Candidate at the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham
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.