‘Hong Kong is angry because its people feel less superior now the Mainland is no longer so backward and impoverished’. If you can remember when Hongkongers used to curse taking consumer goods and cash over the border to their relatives every New Year, you will know that they are perfectly happy for Mainlanders to be more prosperous. But such nonsensical reasons for local resentment persist.
I declare the long weekend open with some recommended scholarly reading – a paper on how China’s think-tank analyst types ‘explain’ Hong Kong badly/wrongly/absurdly to themselves and their Mainland audience (if any). Behold Seeing (exactly) like a state – knowledge/power in the Beijing-Hong Kong relationship by Kevin Carrico, who has first-hand knowledge of the subject, having starred on the front pages of local CCP newspapers as an evil foreign force masterminding Hong Kong’s youthful ‘color revolution’.
It is an academic paper (even the title has a footnote), but is spiced up with a healthy dose of sarcasm – probably unavoidable given the weirdness of the subject matter.
Looking at three Mainland published works, he finds that Beijing’s ‘Hong Kong-ology’ is a ‘closed, self-referential system’. Examples include a “self-glorifying rewriting of the history of One Country, Two Systems” and an insistence that the colonial administration’s introduction of public housing and social services, the founding of Chinese University and Chris Patten’s reforms were elaborate tricks to brainwash the population into supporting the British.
The fun starts at the end of page 6. The first part is drier but outlines the point of the paper: seeing the CCP’s view of Hong Kong as if it were a variant of ‘Orientalism’. This phrase originally refers to a stereotypical Western exoticized, mythologized and condescending view of the Middle East and Asia. It essentially means a self-fulfilling mis-reading of another place or culture as inferior.
The author doesn’t touch on it, but I don’t think it is reading too much between the lines to point out that this is massively insulting to the CCP. It turns the victims-of-evil-Westerners narrative back onto them. It portrays them as the insensitive or ignorant ethnic supremacists. And, taking ‘Orientalism’ to its logical conclusion, it casts them in the role of Big Bad Imperialistic Racists – de facto Westerners, indeed, forcing an alien German-Russian ideology and ancient feudal mindset onto culturally sophisticated, authentically Asian Hong Kong.
I’ve no idea whether this paper is good academically, but it is hilariously entertaining as extreme panda-baiting. CCP theoreticians, who don’t have much sense of humour at the best of times, would explode at this analysis.
Happy Reunification with the Glorious Motherland Day!