Why Hong Kong youth struggle with Chinese identity
I am writing in response to your report on the study by City University researchers, who have warned that Hongkongers are being pushed into rejecting their national identity because the local and Beijing governments are “misdiagnosing” the problem and equating localism with being unpatriotic (“Beijing ‘confuses Hong Kong localism with being anti-China’”, April 17).
To start with, some Hong Kong people refuse to admit to even being Chinese. I believe the main reason for this rejection of their Chinese identity is that Hong Kong was controlled by the British for more than 150 years. This greatly reduced the patriotism of Hong Kong people towards the motherland.
During colonial times, people had no relation and no contact with the mainland. They were controlled by Britain. The older generation, which experienced the hardships of the war, was not effective enough in instilling pride in being Chinese among the youngsters.
By the time Hong Kong returned to mainland China, the city’s youth had mostly forgotten the glorious history of China and their national identity. That explains why so many young people take an anti-China stance and talk about Hong Kong independence.
This is also the major reason why the government wants secondary schools to teach Chinese history as well as give lessons on moral, civic and national education. This is seen as a way to enrich teenagers’ understanding of China and inspire students not to oppose the government.
Wendy Wong, Kwai Chung