‘De-Sinofication’ debate re-emerges in HK
Attempts to “de-Sinofy” Hong Kong are becoming all too familiar, according to a Beijing-loyalist businessman who warned on Wednesday against efforts to turn it into a city-state.
Lew Mon-hung, a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the comments during a debate on RTHK radio with Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan, a scholar who has called publicly for wider autonomy for Hong Kong.
Lew said it was increasingly obvious that many Hongkongers are opting for “de-Sinofication”. He cited the British flags that were waved recently by demonstrators protesting against the government’s national education programme, and during protests in Sheung Shui against cross-border mainland traders.
One former Beijing official said he was “heartbroken” to see Hongkongers waving the flags.
“Before and after the [September 9 Legislative Council] election, many candidates chanted ‘down with the Chinese Communist Party’,” Lew said.
“Article 1 of the Basic Law states that Hong Kong … is an inalienable part of [China]. That is so whether or not you like China.”
Lew called it “theoretically ridiculous, and practically dangerous” for people to talk about Hong Kong as a city-state – a form of government which, he said, existed in what is now Germany before it became a country in the 19th century.
But Chin, who has a PhD in folklore studies from Germany’s Goettingen University, said Hong Kong has a quality of “purity” that it should not lose. He now teaches Chinese studies at Lingnan University.
His latest book, which calls for Hong Kong to become a city-state, has been adopted as a guiding philosophy by campaigners pushing for increased independence from the mainland.
“The Hong Kong government, has not done enough to maintain the city’s dignity and interests amid increasing interactions with the mainland,” Chin said.
Hong Kong, he argues, is too small to accommodate the vast numbers of mainlanders who may want to move here. It also requires a higher standard of order and civilisation than the mainland, he said.
As for the current controversy over teaching national education in Hong Kong, Lew said western countries have long taught the subject in their schools, asking citizens to be loyal to their country.
But Chin questioned whether Hongkongers are really Chinese nationals, since they do not pay mainland taxes to help pay for the military.