While it would be an exaggeration to say that the South China Morning Post never ceases to amaze, the paper can sometimes raise eyebrows. The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Shirley Yam Column last week took readers aback – not least because ultra-sensitive apparent dirt on Xi Jinping’s inner circle made it into print in the first place, before being hastily airbrushed out of existence.
And yesterday we had a forthright denunciation of the Chinese Communist Party’s rewriting of Hong Kong (and other) history, featuring such quotable snippets as…
Beijing treats us like we have Stockholm syndrome, like because we don’t buy into the nation’s collective self-pity, we are somehow “stalling the process of decolonialisation”.
You can tell us foreign elements organised Occupy Central, or try to pretend five of our publishers were never arbitrarily spirited away to the mainland. But every time you erase another line of our past, you push us another mile away.
The column is a response to one in the SCMP by a Mainland zombie-academic (which was so insulting and coarse that its own appearance in the paper could almost be interpreted as anti-Beijing black propaganda).
The (pinyin-named) author’s argument is perhaps awkward. For example, he or she sees a straight equivalence between the CCP and colonial historical/fictional narratives, and (let’s say) probably overstates the role of Song- and Qing-era local resistance against foreign invaders in forming modern Hong Kong.
But the article also reflects much of the broader uncertainty and discussion about Hong Kong’s identity vis-à-vis the Mainland/China/the CCP. It particularly makes sense in the context of the city’s defiance and reaction against Mainlandization and the obnoxiousness and belligerence of the CCP.
In short, it is a ‘Localist’ op-ed piece – which, in the SCMP, is a bit of a surprise.