De-Sinofication? You gotta be kidding!

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2012, 7:18am

Every major country and economy in the world is recalibrating policies and alliances to accommodate a resurgent China. Strangely, many Hong Kong people, living in an economy that is the most dependent, think they could get away from the hinterland. That is a bit like rejecting geography, the water we drink, the food we eat, our own speech and skin colour.

The mainland controls our water supply, of which up to 80 per cent comes from the Dongjiang, and our food supply. Our tourism industry will instantly collapse if mainlanders, so despised and denounced as "locusts", are barred from visiting as tourists. Do we seriously think the Hong Kong we have fashioned after the handover is so attractive that we can get enough overseas tourists to sustain the industry?

Our city attracts the world's financial institutions to set up shop here not because we are an international financial hub - in fact, we're not - but because of the liberalisation of the yuan and proximity to the mainland. The mainland has propped up Hong Kong since the handover and the Asian financial crisis.

This is the background to the so-called de-Sinofication debate. A local academic with a PhD in folklore from Germany - I am not making this up - claims Hong Kong has a quality of "purity" and should become a city state. His book has become a manifesto for our "De-Sinoficatas". What was the German word for purity? Reinheit? Let's not even go there.

We are Hongkongers. Well, there are Beijingers, Shanghainese, hakka; southerners and northerners. Let's not forget the dozens of minorities on the mainland. Do we reject them too? What about the minorities in Hong Kong, whose voices are inevitably stifled and ignored by the noisy Chinese majority. Are they "pure" enough to be Hongkongers?

Forget national education. What these me-first Hongkongers need is Hong Kong study - at the most elementary level - so they know where we are in the world and in relation to the mainland. They are like most users of Google Maps and Earth, which contain advanced features that can take you to outer space, zoom in and out of continents and deep into the oceans. But most people just zero in on the buildings they live in to check if they look nice.