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Hong Kong localism and independence

Hong Kong National Party speaker causes outrage in seminar comparing city’s issues to Tibetan experience

Jason Chow Ho-fai says both places have been deprived of self-determination

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 March, 2017, 8:45am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 March, 2017, 9:01am

A leading figure of a radical localist party has likened the influence of mainland China on Hong Kong to Tibet’s experience after the Communist Party established control of the region in the early 1950s.

Jason Chow Ho-fai, spokesman from the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, presented at a seminar titled “New Tibet – Hong Kong under re-colonisation”.

But a total of 15 people walked out in protest at different times throughout the session. The event was held by City University’s students’ union to mark the 58th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising.

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Those who left held slogans or banners with the words “Opposition to Tibetan independence” or “Anti-Tibetan independence, Anti-Separatism”.

Chow said that the political situation faced by Hong Kong was similar to that of Tibet.

“Both places have been deprived of the rights of national self-determination … how do we want to go forward into the future?” Chow asked.

He claimed that evidence of “re-colonisation” of the city by the mainland included schoolchildren speaking Putonghua in private conversations, and some companies listing competency in the language as a job requirement.

“My party supports independence. Maintaining the status quo would mean suicide,” he said.

He urged Hong Kong to start preparing for independence, such as reducing reliance on the mainland.

“Can we stop purchasing things from Chinese companies? Can we stop considering our local culture as inferior?” he said.

But the audience questioned whether Hong Kong could be sustainable if it became independent.

“If we cannot purchase water from the mainland, what can we do? If we introduced an army from another country, are we going to be another country’s colony?” a woman asked.

Others also questioned how Hong Kong could establish strong diplomatic ties with other countries if it were independent.