I am a Hongkonger who emigrated to the UK after the failed 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. Voted Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum. AMA.
Ugh, what can I say? I and all of my friends know that Brexit is fucking stupid.
Personally I am very stressed about it. I try to avoid news because of this. I am a hardcore supporter of the NHS, and I am very scared that it might wreck our medicine supplies. I also do not want to see HFCS or chlorinated chicken in our food.
Yes, I will be protesting. As a HKer, protesting is in my blood lol. Bollocks to Brexit!!
Do you believe there are any parallels to the independence HK is trying to obtain and Britain attempting to obtain independence from the EU?
No, not at all. I and all my friends who are HKers, Japanese, Taiwanese and EU nationals are so bewildered at the claim that some British feel they have to "take back control". I mean, you have democracy and control over yourselves? If you want to control immigrant quota, ask Westminster, not the EU.
British who feel that they are "oppressed" by the EU overlords need to read more world news and learn what being "oppressed" means.
I think your response has merit, would you believe the level of oppression to be the only reason for HKs call for independence or is independence also a good in it's own right? That is to say, if mainland China was much less oppressive would there still be good reason to be independent HK?
This is a great question! One of the questions pro-Beijing people often ask is that "why did HKers not fight for freedom against British rule, but are now against Chinese rule?" See, HKers have always been politically apathetic (and we are famous for that), because we did well under the British overlords, both economically and socially. Under British administration, we have a NHS-like healthcare system, welfare system, a legal system we can trust, great public housing and metro system. Why would we care about "freedom" when we knew they just wanted the best for HK?
FYI, in the 80s and 90s, many highly educated HKers who were worried about the future of HK under CCP rule applied for citizenships in the UK, US, Canada and Australia and emigrated afterwards (we call it 移民潮 "emigration boom"). However, many of them returned to HK in the late 90s and early 2000s as they saw nothing changed drastically under Chinese rule (we call it 回流潮 literally "return boom") and more importantly they didn't enjoy living overseas, as wages in professional sectors overseas are significantly lower than in Hong Kong.
I am sure that if the Chinese government did not rule HK with an iron fist most HKers would not have cared. Afterall, HKers are conditioned to obey our masters. However, under the oppressive Chinese rule, young people became more politically aware, just like what happened to Ireland after the Great Famine in 1845. From what I know, although there were sporadic struggles against British rule, the Home Rule movement did not really become a thing until the Famine.
Unlike the older generations who are not highly-educated and prioritise money over freedom, young people who are far more westernised and highly-educated prioritise democracy/freedom/social justice over money. As you can see from various polls, younger people are willing to emigrate even if that means living in another country they have no ties with and earning lower wages.
10 years ago, many HKers still identify themselves as Chinese. You could see many HKers raising Chinese flags during the 2008 Olympics. However at this point, the rift between HK and Mainland China has become so huge that it is impossible for us to remain as one nation.
Seems like a better parallel would be with Scotland attempting to separate from the other countries in the UK.
Yes. Ireland too. I recommend people interested in what is going on in HK to read about the history of Ireland. It's eerily similar to what is happening before the failed Easter Rising.
If there was an independent hk tomorrow would you go home?
Great question! I've been asking this myself every day.
I personally won't. As a sweaty person HK is too hot for me. In HK I had to turn on the AC around March, but in the UK I don't even need a fan in the summer.
I can't trust food imported from Mainland China but I know I can trust food imported from the EU. And you can't have nice berries in HK! A box of strawberries imported from Tasmania costs HKD 100, but in UK I can have that for £3...and it's far tastier too...
Not to mention the quality of life, cost of housing, etc etc.
If you could give any advice to people that are over there right now feeling as if hope is caving, what would yours be?
I don't feel that I am in a place to give advice... but anyway.
The night is darkest just before the dawn. Keep Calm and Carry On!
(Unrelated story: at the end of last year I went to London and bought few of the Keep Calm and Carry On postcards in the Imperial War Museum. I sent all of them to protesters in HK last month and they were all very happy... I wish I bought more of the postcards lol)
What can people who are not from Hong Kong do that will help Hong Kong's protesters?
What are your thoughts about the Chinese government trying to regain control of the people of Hong Kong?
Personally, my family is obviously not happy about it. My family has been very wary of the Chinese government which was why my father applied for British citizenship in the first place. It's also the main reason we emigrated to the UK.
If you are asking about what HKers think - What CCP is doing is quite futile to be honest, as Hong Kong has never been China's. Most young HKers do not identify themselves as Chinese.
Sounds kind of ridiculous. If someone were to ask you your ethnicity would you say Hong Konger or Chinese?
Yes, I am a Han Chinese by blood but CCP has tried to change the meaning of that word into "citizen of PRC" which is why I do not want to use it.
I know the current protests in HK are about the extradition law (and various other things), but I feel that the undercurrent is that HK basically wants independence from China. Am I right in thinking that or do people from Hong Kong accept being a part of China and just want more autonomy?
And if it is in fact an independence movement, China will view it as an attempt at secession. Most countries in the world will not tolerate secession (a recent example that comes to mind is Spain and Catalonia) but I feel like China will be much harsher than most countries would be. What lengths would China go to to actually stop independence if it came to it?
Not OP but.
As far as I know HK only wants increased autonomy, few people actually want full independence except the some of the younger generation. From what I understand, this talk of independence is purely fictional and talked about by western media and ignorant individuals social media. OP can correct on this.
As for China permitting independence it's a hard no. HK as a city is not only financially meaningful, but symbolically meaningful as a remnant of a colony that represents the humiliation the Chinese had to face due to British imperialism. Unlike the other colonies, HK and Macau are the last two remaining cities with major agreements on how they should be ruled. However unlike Macau, Hong Kongers are distinctly hostile and racist to mainland Chinese, and naturally lack any sympathy or support from the mainland. As a result, the CCP literally can not grant independence to HK demands unless they want far bigger domestic issues within China (think HK levels riots and displeasure, only in every city in China.) since it shows that China is still weak and prone to humiliation from the past century by western powers. This was a colony that treated the Chinese as second class citizens under British rule, and only got to be a financial center due to being the gateway to China and the west, and now they're holding British/American flags and singing foreign national anthems as a form of unity; so you can imagine why they don't get much support within China.
This is also the reason why this conflict is still ongoing, as the 5 demands of HK are completely out of the question when packaged together. Specifically the right for universal suffrage without oversight for the governor position, and full release of all arrested citizens without exception. Keep in mind to the mainland, this city already has it's own legal system, currency, border controls, and most of everything that one might consider a "country", as such any increased autonomy will also lead to heavy resistance from the mainland and internally within the CCP.
As for what lengths China would go to if all of HK suddenly seeks succession? Probably heavy military intervention. By international law (although don't quote me, I'm just a guy that reads books for fun) declaration of independence will allow China to freely roll in as HK is now a rebellion and a rouge state. This is also the reason why Taiwan can not declare independence, and rather accept this limbo state of a country but also not a country and also part of the same China while being a different international border for the foreseeable future.
You can't put it better than that :)
Most overseas HKers are ardent supporters of that proposal, including myself and my family. Since the Handover there have been many petitions about giving BNO passports holders the rights to live in the UK. We signed all of them.
HKers have been very grateful, also hopeless, about that proposal by Tom Tugendhat, as we all know that it is probably just empty words...
You can read more here too if you are interested on this issue: https://www.hongkongwatch.org/bno-community
First of all much respect to HKers, you're people have shown the world the courage and resolve possessed in fighting authoritarian tyranny and wish you luck in getting the result you want.
In your view, even if Carrie Lam were to fully withdraw the Extradition Bill and meet the protest demands. What’s the end game? The SAR status is only till 2047, would HKers accept that China will govern them once the SAR status expires as written in the agreement with UK. Or should we expect strong resistance?
In my opinion, most of the HKers who are highly educated and not willing to live under the CCP regime will have emigrated (just like what I did). Sadly, other poorer HKers who have no means of escaping will either have to accept their fates or pray for the collapse of the CCP.
Are you in close contact to any relatives or friends back in HK? How is life for them? What has changed since you left HK?
Yes I am still in contact with them. Funnily, at first, they do not approve of my emigration and asked "why the hell are you emigrating???" And now they are moaning "oh, you are so lucky to have emigrated..."
As I have not returned to HK after I emigrated, I do not have first-hand information about HK. However, I know that real average wage is decreasing year by year because of rising rent. I also checked Street View recently and saw even more pharmacies / jewellery shops / chain retailers have popped up even in the minor streets in where I lived and I was so surprised as it was not a thing before I left HK. This proves that Mainland tourists is disrupting the lives of HKers.
Where would you move if neither UK or HK is up your ally at the end of this?
I would stay in the UK, as I have no where else to go.
Come to Canada :)
Oh Canada is my favourite country ever 😭 I would LOVE to move there if I can. Many of my HK friends emigrated there! And I love pho!
We'd be happy to have you buddy! come for a visit at least some time, very beautiful!
I'm going to visit my friends in Vancouver next year. 😛 Many HKers are living around Richmond too and I want to see what it's like there!
with all the Hong Kong posts going away, how does it feel to have this happen to your home?
Can you elaborate? I am not sure what this means.
The public seem to be loosing interest in your people's story
Why do you think that is?
Probably because people have short attention span? I don't blame them at all. So many things are happening around the world every day. Why should people care about a city in the Far East that has nothing to do with them?
So. where do you think the UK is going to go after the Government being suspended until essentially the 11th hour till a No Deal Brexit?
Oh I have no idea. I am fearing for the worst, but hoping for the best. I feel so powerless at the moment. Protesting in HK or the UK never did anything....what can we do?
How long have you been on reddit? Do you follow other Asian subs?
I have been on Reddit for about 5 years. (this is not my main account)
I am not on any Asian subs. I am more interested in western culture.
Do you believe there is a chance these protests might spread to Mainland China, and stand a chance at making happen there what happened at the end of the Soviet bloc in the late 80s and early 90s? Do you believe there is any real opportunity at a mostly peaceful revolution of the people against the Mainland's regime, and do you believe the protests in Hong Kong could prove to be a catalyst for it??
I'm also wondering what advice you would have for any Americans who might be looking to venture to Hong Kong. Is it safe for any foreigners to go right now? Would it be too risky for any Americans to go in an attempt to help the protesters, even in some small way? I really want to help by going there. But, I obviously don't want to be held by any Mainland police. I also wouldn't want to get stuck there, and I wouldn't want to spend too much in money I don't have!
Good question, and this is what most foreigners should know!
No, I don't believe the protests will spread to Mainland China as most of them are brainwashed. They live in a parallel world, and I have to say, sadly, that they are beyond help.
Actually many Hongkongers did interviews on the streets in Mainland China and ask the people what they think of Hong Kong. Almost all of the mainlanders either do not understand what is going on, or think that HKers want independence (because they are misled by the CCP), which is a big no-no in Chinese culture. In Chinese culture, China is viewed as one big nation and should never be separated which is why many Chinese do not approve of the Taiwanese and Tibets independence movements. Many Chinese think that even if you are overseas Chinese, you should always put China before your adopted country. Ridiculous I know but this is Chinese culture.
See these links to see what I mean:
If even overseas Mainlanders who are living in freedom are so supportive of the CCP regime, how do you expect Mainlanders in China to be opposed to the regime!? Even those who do not like the CCP regime (who are mostly Southerners like Guangdong people) will just accept their fates and get on with their lives.
Don't worry about the protests! They are mostly happening in places / poorer areas where most tourists would not go to (like Sham Shui Po). HK is still quite safe. Just be vigilant!
Oh, the HK police don't know how to speak English, so don't worry. If you are held by one of them, keep repeating that I am a tourist and they will let you go, lol.
All HK citizens possess Chinese citizenship?
Yes. If you are born there, you are a Chinese citizen.
Gonna leave aside the politics and ask about movies.
I used to love Hong Kong movies, but find it hard to find out about new ones these days.
What has come out since around 2005 that you’d recommend?
Oh, this is a no-brainer. Saat po long (2005) is by far the most realistic action film IMO and my favourite action film.
Ten Years (2015 film) is also a great indie film, but it's a depressing political film so you might not like the tone of it..
Have you ever experienced any racism in the UK? It seems to be on the increase and I find that simply shameful.
Thankfully, no. For some reason, even the most right-wing British don't discriminate against Chinese probably because of their middle-class status. For example, Jeremy Hunt's wife is Chinese.
From the outside it would seem to me that someone who left HK to stay away from an oppressive large government might be sympathetic to the case for Brexit - that the UK doesnt want to be ruled by a potentially oppressive large government.
As an American Im probably oversimplifying both situations, so please, am I missing here?
I have to emphasise that the state of UK is in no way similar to that of HK. Leavers spin the fact and make it looks like UK is being oppressed by the EU, but it's NOT. Westminster can control the immigration quota, but they chose not to.
There are so many sources on this, including a myth-buster by the EU themselves. You can search on Google.
Please don't compare the state of the UK to HK. It feels like an insult to us. Most Asians are supportive of the EU.
I dont mean to say their current state is similar by any means, but the idea of ceding control to a larger body outside is. I dont appreciate your talking down to me without answering any questions here in fact i find it quite rude.
EU is not "controlling" the UK. If it is, why are Scotland and Ireland who are opposed to Westminster so supportive of the EU?
I just don't understand your loyalty to the EU. They didn't let you live here. The UK did.
Because we want what is best for our country.
That doesnt even make sense in response to the question. Either you need a translator or you need to take this more seriously.
Well, I am not sure why wanting to remain in the EU means I am "loyal" to the EU. I am living here in the UK and I identify myself as British. Remaining in the EU is the best for our country and it doesn't make me less British. Does that make sense?
You can also ask Scottish and Irish people the same question.
Do you think the Hong Kong protester would actually stop if they got self governance?
Yes. But self-governance won't happen under CCP, will it?
Or is the protest more about social income gap and the lack of affordable life essentials, like cheap housing.
This is correct.
Because I never understood why they would attack the police when in true self governance, the police also has a vote/voice.
Is this a loaded question? Since when did HK have "true self governance"? Also HKers did not attack the police. They were trying to defend themselves.
I also need to mention HKPF is infiltraed by the PAP. There are many evidences. One of them is this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-9Qo0QxATg at 0:38 you can hear one of the "police" shouting "COMRADES!!!! (同志們) That way" Ummmm No one speaks like this in HK.
IMO the protesters should be directing their attacks/protests to the homes of members of the legco and Carrie lam
Every HKer knows that LegCo and Carrie Lam are controlled by the CCP. Even if Carrie Lam steps down it will change nothing. Which is why HKers are not calling for her to step down.
Why do you feel the need to mention that you voted remain? What does that have to do with the current situation in Hong Kong?
Because I feel so helpless at the moment.
What are your current thoughts about Brexit, and would you go protest it?
I’m a british citizen living overseas and I’m stressed out daily because of the whole situation as it will affect the life I have built out here (EU) over the last 5 years. And I’m seriously considering coming back over for a while just to protest it, but I don’t want to jeopardise the life I have got now...
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