As Catalans seek independence from Spain, some people in Hong Kong are watching developments closely, believing that the secessionist movement halfway around the world is somehow relevant to the city.
It was the same during Scotland’s referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, in September 2014: Hong Kong independence activists hung on to every poll number as if an independent Scotland was any of their business. It is sad but they are simply projecting their own pipe dreams onto other people’s struggles.
Apart from the truly delusional, I don’t think anyone in Hong Kong believes that the city’s independence from China is viable or achievable.
Of course, there is no earthly reason why two political entities shouldn’t be independent from each other. If one were to look at cultural and human ties, then Malaysia and Singapore should not be separate nations; if one were to take language then Germany, Austria and the other German-speaking parts of Europe should be a unified whole.
Even less sacrosanct are historical borders, which are notoriously fluid. Witness China’s own territorial transfiguration over several millennia, its bulk waxing and waning like a serial dieter.
It was just under a century ago, in 1921, that Mongolia became independent from China and no one is seriously arguing for its unification with today’s China.
Having said all that, the fact remains that China, given its current national zeitgeist and military power, will not tolerate independence of any of the territories it has deemed inalienable. So why waste time?