Hong Kong exodus: Beijing is certainly not losing sleep over it
- Hongkongers are free to pronounce ‘one country, two systems’ dead, just as they are free to vote with their feet. But know that their personal feelings have little relevance to the government’s implementation of ‘one country, two systems’
A few countries’ newly relaxed immigration policies for Hongkongers have encouraged many who might not have considered emigrating otherwise; they never felt they had the option to leave, and so quickly. Besides, the West’s welcome mat may be temporary, so they’d better move when they can.
“Why haven’t the Hong Kong government and Beijing reflected on the reasons behind the exodus?” This is a question that has been asked quite a lot lately.
In other words, we in Hong Kong are free to disagree and vote with our feet, but imagining the government would be sorry to see some of us go is simply too naive.
Those of us who expect our government officials or “Grandpa” Beijing to care are looking for love in the wrong places. It is a delusional, and ultimately self-defeating, exercise.
Many who have left or are planning to leave feel “one country, two systems” is dead. Well, “one country, two systems” has taken some serious hits. One is free to pronounce it dead, just as one is free to uproot one’s family and move. But our personal feelings have very little relevance to the implementation of “one country, two systems”.
For a good part of the first 25 years, Beijing played the role of the mostly hands-off, indulgent grandpa to Hong Kong. The central government avoided direct confrontations and gave us help when we asked for it, such as during the Asian financial crisis and after the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic.
But Hong Kong acted up more and more. Beijing tried to be a strict parent, and it got adolescent pushback.
And so this ship is setting sail – into uncharted waters, perhaps, but it is sailing nonetheless. And it would do us a world of good if we could first get over our hurt feelings.
Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA