Diaoyus dispute encapsulates the Hong Kong identity crisis
The Asahi Shimbun features a seemingly discordant personality of a Hong Kong activist, portrayed as a fierce Chinese patriot in the face of Japan but also intensely critical of the Chinese government.
The man dubbed by some as a “Chinese hero” is Zeng Jian-cheng, a founder of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands, who last year sailed from Hong Kong to plant a Chinese national flag on isles also claimed by Japan.
According to the article, the Diaoyu/Senkaku island dispute underscores an apparent identity crisis in Hong Kong.
When asked about the Senkaku issue, most Hong Kong residents will give a somewhat uniform reply. This includes people usually critical of the Chinese government.
[The] “territorial issues can bring out the patriot in all of us”.
At least in Zeng, the two dichotomies are not reconciled, which may or may not reflect the larger population in Hong Kong.
“Japan never faced up to what it did during World War II, but the way the Chinese government is behaving is just the same,” he tells the Japanese newspaper, referring to Chinese censorship of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
As is often the case, nationalism can be a powerful weapon for the Chinese government, seen in massive anti-Japanese protests that broke out across the mainland in September. But once deployed in Hong Kong, the results may not be so straightforward because of the city's unique history.
The Asahi Shimbun cites a Hong Kong expert and associate professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, Toru Kurata:
“Hong Kong has two historical issues, one against Japan and one against the Chinese government. When it comes to grievances against Japan, Hong Kong can seem very close to the mainland. However, when it comes to issues declared off-bounds by the Chinese government, such as the Tiananmen Incident, there is a deep schism with the mainland, too.”
Other coverage, April 28-May 4
- Fury of Starbucks customer after workers wrote Vagina on her sister’s mug A Starbucks gets Virginia’s name wrong, the Daily Mail writes, posting a image that has gone viral.
- Hong Kong boat crash report fings ‘systematic failings’ The BBC looks at the report from the Lamma ferry disaster in October and runs a map graphic of the accident.
- Gifts for Chinese officials anger Hong Kong SceneAsia, a Wall Street Journal blog, looks at the ICAC Timothy Tong Hin-ming graft case
- Golden week loses its shine for Hong Kong CNBC’s Bernie Lo says the number of mainland tour groups were down during this year’s Labour Day week, compared with last year.
- Cambodia, Hong Kong slip in press freedom poll Radio Free Asia lumps Hong Kong with Cambodia, Myanmar, mainland China and North Korea.
- Hong Kong celebrates May Day with anti-laojiao videos AsiaNews, the Catholic Church’s press agency, reports on documentary films screened in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
- China accuses British agents of subverting Hong Kong The Sunday Times says Beijing has launched a propaganda campaign warning that the British secret service is using agents in Hong Kong's democracy movement.
- On the H7N9 avian flu
On judicial wigs
- Wigged out: Hong Kong’s lawyers bristle over horsehair headpieces The Wall Street Journal takes on the debate between solicitors and barristers over wigs.
- Hong Kong’s solicitors want to wear the same wigs as barristers Time Newsfeed does a similar story.
- On rain
Arts and culture
- Giant inflatable art on display in Hong Kong US morning show Today shares a photo of the inflatable Complex Pile, known as poop art to some.
- Giant inflatable poop among many strange sculptures in Hong Kong Even a Philadelphia art blog gets in on the feces art.
- Hong Kong’s culture fix The New York Times’ T magazine posts a photo gallery of works for contemporary art museum M+.
- Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s big yellow bird was all over the blogs, on CNN’s website - and in this cheeky dig from the Shanghaiist.