Pro-Beijing forum attacks advocacy of Hong Kong's special identity
Defenders of local culture and advocates of autonomy for the city are dismissed as having psychological problems during pro-Beijing forum
A recent outspoken defence of local culture was the result of a "psychological imbalance" among Hongkongers who felt powerless when faced with the mainland's economic growth, said speakers at a pro-Beijing forum yesterday.
They said such sentiments about Hong Kong's identity were an insignificant dead end and that their advocates were only giving vent to their anger and "abasement".
The event, organised by the Hong Kong Development Forum, was intended to "rethink the rise of nativism", and was hosted by Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chichung.
Professor Lau Siu-kai, former head of the Central Policy Unit think tank, and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said Hongkongers had long felt superior to people across the border, but that with the mainland's growth they feared they were losing their edge. They also felt their interests were being harmed by travellers buying up stocks of infant formula milk and causing a shortage of maternity beds.
"They are two sides of the same coin - pride and abasement," Ip said. "The city's leader should look at this psychological issue among Hongkongers and see how we can boost our confidence again," she said, adding that some people were "fantasising some collective memory".
Lau said the campaign had no clear objectives or strategies and lacked a powerful leader.
Peking University law professor Qiang Shigong said the lack of national education in the city made it difficult for Hongkongers to understand the culture on the mainland.
Economist Francis Lui Ting-ming said it was impossible for the city to gain autonomy because its economy could not stand without the mainland.
Pro-autonomy academic Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan and Civic Party lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching dismissed the arguments expressed at the event as "nonsense".
Chin said Beijing should ask itself why Hongkongers had become psychologically imbalanced after the handover, if indeed they had.
Mo, who co-launched an initiative named "HK First" to defend the city's culture from "mainland-isation", described Qiang's remarks as moronic.
"If we don't defend our culture, Hong Kong will not be Hong Kong in 20 years. We will lose our language and culture," she said.