Hong Kong’s Education Bureau tries to explain why they want school kids to learn that the city was never a British colony. This follows controversy and mockery that moved one normally-dull legislator to something approaching wit…
Lawmaker Priscilla Leung said during a Legislative Council meeting in early July that saying “Hong Kong was never a colony” was nothing new. “But many people reacted as if a new continent had been discovered…”
Despite how it sounds, the point of the ‘not a colony’ stance is not to claim that the British never governed Hong Kong (the word ‘British’ is redundant here). The intention is to underline China’s long-standing principle that the territory was all along legitimately part of China and never entitled to self-rule (ie independence). Hence the removal back in the 1970s of Hong Kong and Macau from the United Nations’ list of territories slated for ‘decolonization’.
The problem is that the authorities assume everyone defines the word ‘colony’ as ‘a place that deserves to be independent’, when most people simply use it to describe the pre-1997 order. Rectification of Names officials further imagine that this supposed misunderstanding encourages thoughts of Hong Kong independence, when in reality such sentiment arises from distrust or hostility towards the CCP’s party-state. Pushing a dumb phrase like ‘Hong Kong was never a British colony’ doesn’t help.
More on phrases… Human Rights Watch notes how years of excessive rhetoric on Taiwan has produced ultra-nationalist – even anti-government – attitudes in China…
Chinese social media is awash with … videos and posts calling for violence against Taiwan … This reflects in part incessant state propaganda and censorship over territorial, ethnic, and human rights issues.
…Discussions challenging these Chinese Communist Party platitudes are strictly prohibited and could send one to prison … Much of what remains online is a cacophony of rage and hate.
…Some netizens are calling on the Chinese government to dissolve the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, the government body dealing with Taiwan, arguing that these officials are “traitors” in need of “punishment.”
Maybe some Taiwanese would support this idea.