Tag Archives: nationalism

Some Thoughts on Hong Kong and Nationalism

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.

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