2020 “Year of the Rat”: Is Peace a Mirage?
An Identity Crisis
Hong Kong. The Chinese New Year is a few days away. Twenty years after Britain returned Hong Kong to China, and the financial metropolis is experiencing its most serious political, economic and social crisis.
Why the young Hong Kong people feels less and less part of the Chinese nation?
Calvin Li was to become a symbol of the integration of Hong Kong and China. A boy born in 1990, his father gave a name that includes the Chinese word “hope” and reflects the belief that transferring the British colony to China in 1997 will improve life on both sides of the border.
Li grew up with a love of Chinese history and culture. He worked as an insurance broker at one of the many mainland companies that are expanding in Hong Kong. But China’s increased pressure on Hong Kong’s autonomy, freedom and lifestyle has transformed it from an apolitical financial specialist to an activist.
“I still believe that Chinese culture is very beautiful, but we, people living in Hong Kong, we must preserve our own culture,” says Li. The moment of the transformation for him, as well as for tens of thousands of others, took place on September 28, 2014, when the Hong Kong police used tear gas against thousands of students and other demonstrators.
The Umbrella Revolution failed to fulfill its mission of securing full democracy from Beijing. But it reinforced a sense of individuality in Hong Kong and put many young Hongkongers in opposition to the most powerful authoritarian state in the world.
The 20th Anniversary of Hong Kong’s Return to China
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the return of the former British colony to China. At the same time, the official slogan of the anniversary – “Unification, Progress and Opportunity” – is complemented by many young people in Hong Kong with their definitions …
Beijing has stepped up the offensive, ignoring its obligations under the Hong Kong mini-constitution, known as the Basic Law. Hong Kong’s growing sense of frustration is often attributed to the high cost of living and increased repression. So what will bring the Chinese New Year to Hong Kong’s people? But perhaps even more relevant is the question: what did the young HongKongers have prepared for the Chinese New Year?
And there is another main factor in the game – identity.
Who will win the hearts and minds of the Hongkongers?
Lau Ming-wai, a 36-year-old second-generation property tycoon and head of the government’s youth commission. He is a rare businessman and politician who is ready to criticize China’s struggle to win heart and mind in Hong Kong. Lau says those who have come of age after the colony was handed over to China have grown up in a “vacuum of identity,” little attached to both Hong Kong’s colonial legacy and mainland China.
Chinese officials and their Hong Kong counterparts belatedly tried to advance the idea of an “one country” with a “two systems”. But their considerable efforts were unsuccessful.
In 2012, they planned to introduce compulsory courses on “moral and national education,” which would explain to young people that the rule of the Chinese Communist Party is “progressive, disinterested” and “surpasses” Western democracy.
The proposal was called “brainwashing,” which triggered a movement called Scholarism, which resulted in teens sharing computer games and manga comics containing protest signs.
Alex Fan, a 29-year-old lawyer and also a member of the government’s youth commission, warns that these ideas will only succeed if young people accept it. Alex who calls himself a proud Chinese and a Hongkonger, stresses that the One Country-Two Systems strategy will not work if it doesn`t create “mutual trust” between Beijing, the Hong Kong government, and the people of the territory.
2020: Is Peace a Mirage in Hong Kong? The people of Hong Kong nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize!
What brings Chinese New Year to Chinese(?) Hong Kong? The questions are many. The important answers so far – very few. The fate of the people of Hong Kong concerns the whole world. The young protesters touched the hearts of many people around the world.
And a Norwegian lawmaker nominated the people of Hong Kong for a Nobel Peace Prize.
“I have nominated the people of Hong Kong, who risk their lives and security every day to stand up for freedom of speech and basic democracy, to the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 I hope this will be further encouragement to the movement,” Guri Melby, a politician for Norway’s Liberal Party, said on Twitter.
One possible future
The best thing about Hong Kong would be this: It’s 2021, and the Chinese government is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. This would mean that, in 2020, centralized power in China has ceded and given the much-desired wider autonomy to Hong Kong. This is a development that protesters and the democratic world would accept. Otherwise, the Hong Kong crisis and the fight for the hearts and minds of young Hong Kong people will continue in full force.
Dual citizenship: UK or EU?
In an effort to safeguard their democratic rights and freedoms, many Hong Kong people have taken steps in recent months to obtain second citizenship. Mostly English and European. Due to China’s threat of retaliation, the British government have restricted the distribution of British passports. Therefore, European citizenship is the best option for Hongkongers seeking second citizenship. However, not all EU member states have a dual citizenship agreement with HK. One of the EU countries that have such an agreement is Bulgaria. Moreover, the procedure for acquiring Bulgarian/European citizenship is considerably facilitated. The Bulgarian passport guarantees full European citizenship. With all its rights and advantages. An applicant’s entire family may benefit from dual citizenship.
There are several options for obtaining Bulgarian (European) citizenship. You can learn all about it here: https://www.bulgarian-citizenship.org/