Hong Kong China Relationship
Britain and China fought a couple of wars over trade in the 1800’s and Britain eventually took over Hong Kong as a colony. At that time it was mainly empty rocky groups of islands in southern China. Under British rule, Hong Kong’s economy and the population exploded and even though Hong Kong’s population was mainly made up of immigrants from China, yet it became a very different society than Mainland China which was undergoing a communist revolution. At that time one of the treaties that China and Britain signed said that Hong Kong would be a British colony for ninety-nine years which meant that the agreement would officially expire in 1997. They come up to this that Britain would give up Hong Kong peacefully to China by 1997 under the condition that Hong Kong will be able to retain its lifestyle, legal system, economic system and will enjoy the freedom of the press, religious worship and much more. China agreed to this and finalized that China will allow Hong Kong to govern itself for 50 years beyond 1997 while they try to get adjusted to Chinese rule. This agreement was known as one country, two systems model.
After Britain had returned back Hong Kong to China in 1997 with an important condition, the city would partly govern itself for 50 years before fully falling under Beijing’s control. Even though Hong Kong was given back to China in1997, yet the border between two remained stuck. The border was a symbol to show that even though Hong Kong is a part of China, however, it is kind of its own country governed by its own rules, systems, and values that is different from Mainland China. Moreover, it is decided long ago that the city and the mainland would operate under the principle known as “one country, two systems.” Till 2047.
As a highly developed economy with a high standard of living, Hong Kong culture has different values in relation to hygiene and social propriety compared to mainland China. Hong Kong-mainland conflict is mainly attributed to the cultural differences between Hong Kong people and mainlanders, such as languages. Even though Hong Kong is said to be an independent part till 2047 governed by its own rules, however, it seems Beijing clearly isn’t waiting that long. Mainland China now wants to merge Hong Kong back with itself. China is now expanding its economy and many other cities are playing a bigger part in it that was being played by Hong Kong previously. China is no more ready to let Hong Kong independent its economy, governance, and rules. For this purpose, China has now started adopting various tactics. In recent years, the Hong Kong government has disqualified elected lawmakers, banned activists from running for office, prohibited a political party, jailed pro-democracy leaders, expelled a senior foreign journalist, and looked the other way when Beijing kidnapped its adversaries in Hong Kong. It has created a rift among the Hong Kongers and Mainlanders that have turned greatly against each other. Hong Kong is also worried about the future of Democracy in China as China is ruled by one party and is an authoritarian state, which Hong Kongers are strictly against. Whereas, China does not want any of its cities to stand against its one-party rule which makes things more difficult.
Hong Kong China Conflicts
Ever since there have been many incidents showing conflicts among Hong Kongers and Mainlanders. Some of them are:
- 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
- Anti-mainlandisation motion
- Racial abuse of Hong Kong football team
- CUHK democracy wall tensions
Mainlandisation of Hong Kong China
Under the Basic Law of Hong Kong, Mandarin was made an official language along with Cantonese and English. On paper, the three languages were given equal status; in reality, Mandarin is increasingly given more importance. In recent years, Mandarin has been increasingly used in Hong Kong, this has led to fears of Cantonese being replaced.
Censorship issue in the media industry
Hong Kong’s freedom of the press has declined since 2002. Hong Kong Journalists Association attributes this to increasingly self-censorship within the industry, due to staff members not wanting to upset people in Beijing in fear of retaliation or loss of future opportunities
In recent years, it is believed that Beijing has undermined Hong Kong’s judicial independence and rule of law through the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law. There have been many silent protests to the reaction to this as well. It is feared that China wants Hong Kong’s judiciary to become the same format and characteristics as in the mainland.
In recent years, there have been many projects to connect Hong Kong to Mainland China including 34 miles long sea bridge connecting Hong Kong to Macau and Mainland China.
Whats is future for Hong Kong China?
These all incidents of mainlandisation of Hong Kong China erasing borders and independence of Hong Kong before the decided timeline of 2047 has led to many conflicts between the residents and government officials of both the countries. Hong Kongers are in view of creating democracy in China and are fighting for their rights and independence. The conflict is still going on to this day and it seems to have no end near if China keeps on mainlandisation of Hong Kong, pressurizing them to get merged in Mainland China.