Hong Kong has a lot going for it. Victoria Harbour is world renowned, a natural and man-made haven that has sheltered a variety of merchantmen from stormy weather.
The city of the same name, once perched precariously on the steep slopes of mountains that rise majestically from the South China Sea, now stands a beacon of modernity — and yet, between its towering skyscrapers, streets and alleyways full of business, life continues.
Then there is Kowloon, the sister city across the water, built in the shadow of the Lion Rock. It is a city developed along connections, between roads that once ran from the waterfront fort to the colonial boundary, and others that long ago linked local settlements and clans to the North. Through its heart runs the first boulevard in China, Nathan Road.
The great leader has fallen. Tanks are on the streets of the capital. A cadre of army officers seize the elderly statesman and demand that he publicly resign and hand over power to their chosen successor. A corrupt administration happily turn, as does his public support. His family have fled the country. Senior members of his government are either already under house arrest or are fleeing. He is handed a script, and television cameras begin to roll.
Evan notes the muted response in Hong Kong to the 19th National Congress. He argues that so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is contingent on a people who have no expectation of shaping their own future — people who subconsciously believe in authority rather than representation. He dares us to ask those questions our countrymen dare not.
There is a common complaint among some of my friends on the Mainland that Hong Kong people are arrogant, that they consider themselves different from their comrades on the Mainland, and that they are letting down their nation. It is a complaint that I am always careful to hear out, but also to address.
I begin by asking whether they think Hong Kong people are, in their arrogance and attitude towards their nation, different from people in China? The answer is always yes. At which point I ask them to define a nation. By this point most people see where my questions are leading, and the complaint is usually dropped. Sometimes, to highlight the folly in what is not only flawed understanding of nationhood but a shameful and positively 19th century attitude towards race, I asked them whether they consider me Hong Kong Chinese? It is not polite courtesy that ends the conversation there, but often embarrassment in their position.