Hong Kong: The Fusion Of Cultures and the Dispute of Centuries
Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Hong Kong. When we write Hong Kong, what comes to mind might be hopes of Democracy, huge International Powerhouses, and generally Inconvenient Travel. If you go from Hong Kong, an Island of China, from China, the Hong Kongers will check your passport, and if you want to go to China, you will have your passport rechecked. If you go from Macau, to China, to Hong Kong, you will have three stamps in your passport.To understand this mess we have to go all the way back to the days of the early British Empire, the 1800s, and Opium Wars.
When you go back in time then you would see a Britain addicted to Tea, Riches, and Products it now depends on but cannot afford, thus leading to the British Government quite literally selling Opium in the 1800s to Chinese Buyers. Over this, China and Britain would go to war. Macau was “found” by the Portugese and ceded to Portugal. When Britain was ceded Hong Kong by the Chinese, the treaty stated that they would have the island until the 1990s, to which one official said, “(Is) As Good as Forever.'' But things weren’t really taking a Pro-Empire
stance anymore by the 90s, and Britain, no matter how much it wanted to keep its colony, had to capitulate and began talks for the transfer of the Island.
There is actually a museum dedicated to that Moment, Margret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zemin. Finally, in 1997, in an elaborate ceremony, the flag of the United Kingdom and British Empire was lowered, and the Chinese Flag was raised. But the terms of this capitulation and ceding of Hong Kong was incredibly complicated, quite literally, lots of small agreements and demands under the table would be shaping Hong Kong’s future. Hong Kong accounted for nearly 25% of the total GDP and earnings of China in those early days, and you did see an increase in people who, rather than thinking of themselves as Hong Kongers, thought of themselves as Chinese. Thus, Hong Kong was respected because the agreements included autonomy, which Hong Kong and Macau needed. Even this has a time limit, as these semi-autonomous Cities, as one professor called them, “The Most Country Like Country Which is Not a Country’s” Autonomy will only continue officially until 2047.
The main question is why is there a sudden decline in the feeling that Hong Kongers are Chinese? And why is there a sudden unrest in Hong Kong? What you have to understand is that those 99 Years were like a fusion of Cultures. A fusion of British, Chinese, and Hong Kong is actually quite hilariously British, with many double
decker buses, cricket stadiums, and even the road names. It is an incredible fusion. So when China agreed to respect that, that was when Hong Kong accounted for nearly 25% of the total GDP, but it doesn’t now. With Capitalist Zones and the new MegaCities, Hong Kong became less and less of a main contributor to the economy until it was only about 3%.
Even looking across the river from Hong Kong, neighboring city of Shenzhen, a new MegaCity, just across from Hong Kong, you can see almost a duplicate of Hong Kong right on its own door-step. But now, China is finished waiting. Things like bridges connecting China to Hong Kong, troops of the Chinese being placed just outside Hong Kong, crushing of protests, and the breaking down and attempt to crush the Hong Kong language, Cantonese, as the government pushes for the adoption of its own language, Mandarin.
Technichnically, yes, this is China, but it truly is the most country-like country that is not a country - an autonomous area with an unknown future - a fusion of China and Britain - and an economic powerhouse of an island. So what happens next, only China can say.