Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Protesting as Hong Kongers

The protests in Hong Kong are about more than just democracy and touch on some issues which are not general to China but instead specific to Hong Kong. In "Are ‘Hong Kong people’ still Chinese? Depends on how you define ‘Chinese'" Alan Chin wrote:
To many in Hong Kong, then, “Chinese” may primarily mean a cultural, ethnic, or racial marker of identity rather than of political nationality. There are “Chinese” of various types who make up the majority population in Taiwan and Singapore, a significant percentage in Malaysia and Thailand, and large numbers around the world.

So when the demonstrators chant “Hong Kong People!” they are asserting that to be a citizen of Hong Kong is emphatically not the same as being Chinese. For the authorities in Beijing, this may send shivers down their spines.
In "Hong Kong’s young – fed up with high rents, few jobs – drive protests" Stuart Leavenworth wrote:
“To tell you the truth, we don’t want to be defined as Chinese people,” said Simon Wong, 24, one of several protesters McClatchy interviewed who made similar statements.

“I am not one of those people who thinks that Hong Kong can become independent,” he quickly added. “But Hong Kong is a special place, with a special autonomy. We just want them (Chinese leaders) to keep the promises they have made.” . . .

What would protesters want done if they had real democracy? Answers vary, but several young people complained about widening inequality and a Hong Kong economy that caters too much to tourists, many of them from the mainland. They come to shop – or at least window-shop – at the outlets for Cartier, Versace and other luxury brands that line many of Hong Kong’s boulevards.

“All of these fancy stores are for the tourists, they are not for us,” said protester Choi-Wing Tung, who’s 23. “They are driving up the rents for all of us.”
Read both articles for more about how many Hong Kongers identify themselves and what motivates them to protest.

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