If Hong Kong is to move towards a more Mainland-style political culture in which everyone worships the Communist Party’s rejuvenation of the glorious motherland and restoration of the Chinese race’s preeminence over all under heaven – what do we do about all the foreigners?
In the Mainland itself, official ideology declares 90% of the population ‘Han’ (though genetically they might overlap with, say, Vietnamese in the south and Koreans in the north). The rest are divided into over 50 listed minorities, ranging from major distinct cultures like the Tibetans to contrived amalgamations of small tribal groups. The implicit official line is that non-Han are backward, and the policy is to absorb them into a Mandarin-speaking whole in which different heritages are reduced to tourist attractions. And foreigners, of course, are foreigners.
(Not sure what the latest is, but I did read something about Mainland experts getting miffed about Taiwan authorities elevating the status of aboriginal minorities, thus messing up the official Greater China ethnic taxonomy or some other national myth.)
The whole idea of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ was to insulate Hong Kong from unwanted, alien Communist/Mainland influence and customs (and vice-versa). That means everything from censorship to forced abortions to propaganda to corruption to religious persecution – and CCP hyper-nationalism and, so far as possible, racial hang-ups (of which the city had its own). But Beijing is now demanding that Hong Kong schools start teaching kids about national identity, and new Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said she wants kindergartens to teach infants ‘I am Chinese’.
Along with many apparently-Han Hongkongers claiming not to see themselves as Chinese, there are significant numbers of South Asians, Southeast Asians, Westerners and mixed – some going back generations in the city – who would not pass Beijing’s racial-purity mindset as Chinese, even if they wanted to. Yet some of these same people’s kids are at these schools where, in theory, they will have to recite ‘I am Chinese’. One writes a straightforward letter to the South China Morning Post asking Carrie to clarify.
This is just one small example of the many contradictions that await us as Beijing insists on hammering the cosmopolitan/pluralistic Hong Kong peg into the CCP’s xenophobic/nationalistic hole.
This just in: the Hong Kong government answers the question elegantly – do what we do and send your kids to propaganda-free international schools. The Communist motherland brainwashing stuff is only for the riffraff. I declare the weekend open with a suitable sigh of relief.