Home > Analysis > Curriculum protest in Hong Kong a sign some still prefer wearing dirty British laundary

Curriculum protest in Hong Kong a sign some still prefer wearing dirty British laundary

At a personal level, I can easily imagine Joyce Lau being a friend, and perhaps that may end up being one day. As some of you know, she reads this blog. Her latest article in the New York Times about the recent curriculum protest in Hong Kong over “patriotic” education is tantamount to pushing a British propaganda line. It’s misguided. Her article said nothing about the curriculum itself. It sheds no perspective from the Chinese side. Incidentally, before her article’s publication, reader perspectivehere had left a comment on this very topic. Through law, the British had already brainwashed Hong Kong citizens long time ago to propagate a friendly narrative towards British colonial rule. Apparently, for some (not all, but the 32k some where the brainwashing succeeded), wearing dirty British laundry has become a desirable fashion worthwhile taking to the streets for. And, sure enough, the expat ‘China’ bloggers will say what the NYT want their readers to think: “ominous, vile and dictatorial.” Another variation of that garbage can be found here, all without examining what’s in this education. Let’s see what perspectivehere had to say.

perspectivehere July 29th, 2012 at 12:08
Recently there have been news reports of Hong Kongers who are opposed to the introduction of “national education” in the Hong Kong school system. The media reports that some Hong Kongers fear that national education means “brainwashing”.

See for example, Thousands in Hong Kong education protest.

“Thousands of Hong Kong parents and their children marched on Sunday against a plan to introduce Chinese national education at local schools, in a show of resistance to official attempts to shape the identity of the former British colony.

Eddie Ng, secretary for education, said on Saturday that Hong Kong would introduce the curriculum aimed at fostering a sense of national identity starting in September and make it compulsory within three years.

“We will do our best to provide a diversified range of teaching materials reflecting multiple points of view,” said Mr Ng, refuting fears national education would amount to brainwashing students about Communist China’s history. “‘Brainwashing’ is against Hong Kong’s core values and that’s something unacceptable to us,” he said.

The government has stressed that the curriculum is intended to bolster students’ knowledge of Chinese current affairs, history and culture.”

….

“Organisers handed out water along the route to combat the heat, and spirits were high, with demonstrators shouting slogans such as: “We want independent education back! We want critical thinking!” and singing nursery rhymes like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with anti-national education lyrics.

Eva Chan, one of the organisers, said teaching guides for national education contained a pro-Beijing bias that was “terrifying”.”

Given these protests against national education, it is worthwhile to consider what education about China is like in Hong Kong as a result of British colonial rule. For this description, I cite this excellent 2004 essay: “When East Meets West: Nation, Colony, and Hong Kong Women’s Subjectivities in Gender and China Development” by Yuk-Lin Renita Wong.

Professor Wong is on the faculty of York University in Toronto.

“The discourse of East meeting West has become so taken for granted in descriptions of Hong Kong that it serves to conceal the historical processes of British colonialism in forming the identity of the place….

The East meets West discourse resonates strongly with British colonial education policy, which from the 1950s on was designed to construct Hong Kongers as modern Chinese. Having seized Hong Kong in 1841 because of its strategic geographical location – from it, British merchants could trade with China without the restrictions on mobility they experienced in Canton – the British colonial government for decades crafted an education policy intended to produce a bilingual, bicultural elite who could function as middlemen between the British traders in Hong Kong and the merchants and officials of China (Luk, 1991; Ng-Lun, 1984).

When, in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party came to power in China, the colonial government immediately shifted the focus of its education policy to resist communist influence and contain nationalistic fervor in Hong Kong. The Education Ordinance was amended to enable the director of education to block or revoke the registration of any teacher. Worried that this legislation might draw international disapproval, the secretary of state for the colonies considered it important to emphasize that “these measures are being introduced for the defense of democracy and not as an attack on it” (Sweeting,1993:200).

Legislative restriction on the political freedom of the colonized was thus framed as defense of democracy. This discourse remained pervasive through the 1990s, making it possible for the colonial government to represent similar repressive measures, such as the Public Order Ordinance, as safeguarding the freedom of the colonized from communist infiltration. In 1953, the Committee on Chinese Studies submitted a report strongly favoring a “culturalistic emphasis on Chinese studies to counteract the nationalistic and revolutionary fervor in the Chinese cultural textbooks from Mainland China” (Luk, 1991:65).

The Chinese curriculum in the colony was developed to bridge East and West: “In Hong Kong, the meeting place and melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures, Chinese Studies should contribute towards the interpretation of China to the West and the West to China” (Report of the Chinese Studies Committee, 1953, qtd. in Sweeting, 1993:214). In particular, the report sought to cultivate “modern Chinese, conscious of their own culture and at the same time having a liberal, balanced and international outlook” (Report of the Chinese Studies Committee, 1953, qtd. in Luk, 1991:665).

Under this colonial education policy, Hong Kong students were taught simultaneously to identify with the glory of Chinese civilization in the remote past and to develop a modern form of Chineseness that was intended to distance them from the neighboring society under communist rule (Luk, 1991). The approach fixed Chineseness in its tradition, while celebrating Westernness for its modernity. These historical conditions of the East meets West discourse significantly influenced the subject formation of Hong Kongers in general and of individual Hong Kong women in particular.

In a critical anthropological account of this discourse in contemporary Hong Kong, Grant Evans and Maria Tam (1997) examine the configuration of ideas around this popular ideology. On one hand, Westernness is mainly associated with liberalism, freedom, rationality, egalitarianism, affluence, disrespect for authority, family breakdown, and immorality; on the other hand, Easternness/Chineseness is linked to familism, respect for elders, conservatism, authoritarianism, social order, and hard work. Evans and Tam suggest that this ideological discourse appeals to both local Hong Kongers and Westerners. When Hong Kong Chinese encounter Mainlanders, their differences can be explained by their Westernness; when they encounter Westerners, their differences can be explained by their Chineseness. Westerners, conversely, identify the modernity of Hong Kong with a familiar Westernness; any differences can then be accounted for by Hong Kongers’ Chineseness.”

We can see from this description that the “Chinese Studies” component of the British colonial educational system in Hong Kong was designed to create an intellectual and ideological barrier between Hong Kongers and communist China. This form of “brainwashing” was perhaps subtle, but seemingly effective.

It is worthwhile for Hong Kongers to have an open discussion about the content of national education; but it seems the demonstrators are protesting based upon unquestioned assumptions that Hong Kong education currently provides an “objective” perspective on China.

This shows a lack of critical thinking on the protestors’ part towards the education they themselves have received about China from British colonial rule – precisely what they are blaming on national education.

The ironies abound.

I think people in Hong Kong should put things in perspective and be thankful that it is only national education from China being introduced.

In the U.S., American schoolchildren have to learn from textbooks approved by ultra-conservative Texas school boards.. Now that’s not brain washing; it’s brain muddying.

Look, Hong Kong is a part of China. China will not accept that part of China being a bastion for pro-British colonial master narratives.

[Update August 9, 2012]
Interesting exchange below between reader ‘citizen’ and Ray, where Ray explains why survey results in the Western press about Hong Kong citizen’s views towards the Mainland are in fact inaccurate. A better gauge is a set of results measuring what he believes are the silent majority:

August 9th, 2012 at 09:43
@citizen
Like I have already said, the survey is a trick question. Take a look at the actual chart. Does it really make any sense to anybody? What is the purpose of this survey? Asking whether one is Hong Kong citizen, Chinese HK citizen, HK Chinese citizen, Chinese citizen?
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/ethnic/eidentity/poll/datatables.html
Imagine a survey in the US asking whether one is a New Yorker, New Yorker American, New Yorker US citizen, American New Yorker?
Here is a survey on the PLA garrison in HK, the approval rating is around 37% in 1997 to 50% in 2012. The disapproval rating has gone from 10% in 1997 to 5% in 2012. (Peak of 70% in 2004, 68% in 2008, which I believe is seeing them on TV doing rescue and humanitarian work). In my opinion, this is more a barometer of trust than anything else.
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pla/poll/pla_poll_chart.html
This what I based most of my argument on, which is the support of pro-mainland parties which has the highest rating, compare that to 1997 when the DP has the highest.
In 1997,
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable-5.html
In 2012,
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable59.html
But I am realistic enough to say that the support would change during election depending on the candidates and local issues. But the days of DP having the absolute majority support of 63% is over. In fact, it is this uncertainty that actually hurt the economical and social development of HK from 1997-2012. My comparison is to Macau from 1999 to 2012 whose GDP almost tripled while HK stagnant. Of course, Taiwan did pretty badly on those account from 2000 to 2008.
And your reminder of the 6.4 incident actually proved my point. The people who go to those rally or vigilant are not interested in the truth.
When you talked about the trust being at the lowest, do you factor in the role the press play? However, IMO the biggest factor is still the economy and the sense of HKers feeling dejected. Since 2008 the housing price has doubled while pay has stay the same. The same is actually true even in Vancouver, Toronto, Singapore.
This is probably the survey you based your opinion on. “On the whole, do you trust the Beijing Central Government?”. It is not black as white as you say when it dropped on 2012 compare to 1997. The survey question is very loose. As you can tell the trust is actually highest around 2007 to 2009 where 55% trust or very trust the central government. This period coincide with the start of economic boom in HK. So the opinion is not always the same.
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/trust/trustchigov/poll/datatables.html
The following survey is done as a 15th anniversary of the return of HK, “Do you think Hong Kong has become better or worse since 1997?” because it contained results such as so much better (4.9%), slightly better (12.6%), no change (15.6%), slightly worse (24.4%), so much worse (38.9%), don’t know (3.6%). I personally think it is not conclusive enough because HK’s economy is now overheated again.
It is most telling rather in this question “Do you think the gap between the rich and poor in Hong Kong has widened, narrowed or more or less the same in the past 15 years?”. A whopping 73.1 % said “yes”.
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/report/scmp15handover/index.html
So like people in Europe and US, most HKers discontent is more focus on perceived economic inequality and always blame the government when that happened.
Here’s another HK specialty, this survey asked the opinion on various government. I will highlight the negative. So as one can tell, the average HK person doesn’t necessary think badly of the central government and still think it in better light than say US, Japanese and Filipino gov.
HK SAR Gov (36% negative)
Mainland Gov (32% negative)
US Gov (37% negative)
Japanese Gov (41%)
Filipino Gov (83% negative)
http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/government/datatables/datatable11.html
For me if I want to use survey to get a perception of reality on the ground, to use a single one would not give you a clear picture. To be honest, I don’t think most HK people are brainwashed by any side but I must say that 90% of the free press there took an easy swipe against the central government and mainlanders as a convenient scapegoat. This lack of objectivity is what is hurting the social, economical and political development of HK.

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  1. August 2nd, 2012 at 17:18 | #1

    In HK, there’s a lost generation who don’t know how to express themselves. So to them, to always protest against the government in power sort of satisfy their need for expression. A few years back when this HK pier is being upgraded to a more modern and bigger one, a bunch of people protested. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Place_Ferry_Pier

    Some even went on hunger strike, can you imagine whenever an air port is being upgraded in the US people went on hunger strike? On hindsight these people simply looked silly.

    However, as far as I can see the so-called pro-Beijing parties have been gaining on the election so I think the silent majority speak through their votes.

    The HK highway/bridge link to mainland was also beset by protest which actually costs the HK taxpayers millions for nothing. To be honest I don’t think these protesters mean bad but they simply don’t contribute to anything. However, in a universal suffrage system the government would have to come up with a way to deal with them and find a better way to channel their energy.

  2. Sigmar
    August 2nd, 2012 at 21:05 | #2

    China’s education comes not a moment too soon. Already we see some tension between Hong Kongers and mainlanders. Hong Kong needs to be shown that she shares a common destiny with the mainland and that there is no real difference between the peoples of the two regions. I understand that are some concerns on the side of Hong Kongers regarding the level of civility and morality of mainlanders and cases like the tainted milk scandals does the mainland no favours, but they should take note, rude and unconscientious people can be found everywhere, and as China becomes more developed and educated, people are starting to really scrutinise issues of food safety.

    Take the recent fiasco of the Hong Kong “hero” who stopped a commuter train just because he observed a mainland mother eating inside and dirtying the train carriage. I was surprised nobody from Hong Kong said that the issue wasn’t an emergency and didn’t warrant stopping the train, or that somebody became late for an appointment because of his inconsiderate actions. Had it been a mainlander who stopped the train, the reactions would be much more negative.

    Of course, Hong Kongers would point out that they have seen many cases in which mainlanders were rude, inconsiderate and loud, and this warrants their perception. But without hard data, people may be feeding on one another’s opinion based on popular perception. Because based on (many a-time anonymous) testimony, anyone can say anyone is no good. Not enough focus is given to self-reflection, or to good deeds done by the mainlanders. This is a phenomenon I observe in Singapore as well. Many Singaporeans point out the many instances where mainland Chinese have been rude or noisy, which undoubtedly there really are, but they seem to fail to notice that there are just as many Singaporeans who are rude and noisy, or that there are just as many courteous and considerate Chinese.

    In the end, a Sino-centric education can help to iron such problems of perception. Hong Kongers need to understand that many parts of China remain undeveloped and poor, and this poverty was caused in no small part in the past by many developed countries today. Bear in mind I am aware some of China’s policies have contributed to her state today as well, and these should be included in the teaching materials as well. And obviously, more must be done by Beijing to promote ties and communication between the mainland and the Hong Kong people. The government should also be pro-active in dealing with the discontent of the latter. For example, Beijing could win over the Hong Kong people by directly dealing with their problem of high-cost housing.

  3. August 4th, 2012 at 08:34 | #3

    I guess I will post some HK news that is rarely reported in western press.

    The PLA has started an exchange program with high school and college students in HK where the students received training and live in the camp.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2011-08/08/c_121830524.htm

    The PLA barrack would usually have open house a few times a year, the tickets are usually gone in less than a couple of hours. Since the 1st open house over 400,000 HK residents have visited the barrack.

    The tickets are so hard to get that sometimes people lined up a few hours or even the midnight before.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/gangao/2011-04/26/c_121349346.htm

    Here HK students in PLA uniform training:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2011-08/18/c_131057065.htm

  4. east2west
    August 4th, 2012 at 21:00 | #4

    HK should be given the freedom to develop their own curriculum. Keep the curriculum reasonable so kids don’t have to drill endlessly like many kids do in China. Check out this interview of a recent high school graduate from China. These kids have to study 90 hours a week, more than twice as many hours as the average adult works!

    http://hopewelljournal.com/2012/07/profile-a-recent-chinese-high-school-graduate-from-the-city-of-gaobeidian/

  5. August 4th, 2012 at 21:20 | #5

    @east2west
    Thanks for sharing that link. I was recently in China myself and relatives attest to the hardship high school students endure for the gaokao.

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. The issue at hand is not about forcing Hong Kong students through the Mainland type regiment.

    If you’d read the OP, this is very much about undoing the propaganda the British had blanketed Hong Kong education with.

  6. August 5th, 2012 at 03:25 | #6

    What I find hilariously ironic and hypocritical is that the protesters who are supposedly opposing “evil chi-com brainwashing” made their children – some of whom could not be more than 5 years of age (see picture in link) – march, shout slogans, and hold up signs. Talk about brainwashing…

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/afaed962-d93a-11e1-8529-00144feab49a.html#axzz22fK3cKH6

    Please don’t tell me any of those children in that picture can actually grasp the context of political issues at hand, or even define the term “brainwashing”, to the point where they can make an informed and voluntary decision about participation in this – or any – political action.

  7. August 5th, 2012 at 08:48 | #7

    @east2west
    The curriculum was developed in HK, basically it is a national civic education. It won’t even be tested. This thing is blown way out of proportion. One of the planner for this subject has retired and is also in the opposition camp. He has since retired from the HK education bureau and plan to go into politics. Basically, it is fear mongering by the politicians to get some cheap votes in election.

    Any person who know the truth about 6.4 knew there is no mass shooting on the square or tanks/apcs running people down. However, if you ask those who joined the yearly protest in HK, they will tell you otherwise. Talking about being brainwashed.

    @Mister Unknown
    Basically, it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    I still remember when the issues of permanent residenece status was being discussed many years ago. The HK court was free to decide base on the Basic Law, and they decide to keep the old system of whoever was born in HK will received PR status. The mainland side actually want to limit the PR status of new born to those who have at least one PR parent. The mainland side give in to the HK side.

    Now, we have a percentage of HK residents who are fed up with mainlanders wanting to give birth in HK. It is actually not that many, numbering around a few tens of thousands per year but it clogged up the delivery wards of hospitals.

    In hind sight, the HK side passed the PR law thinking human rights is high and mighty. However, when those rights were put to the test, most can’t take it. I foresee the basic law will be reinterpreted to the version first suggested by the mainland side.

  8. citizen
    August 7th, 2012 at 22:21 | #8

    Why are you citing an essay about colonial education (with bulk of the work done in 1996 and 1997, with some updating in 2000) when you want to know about HK education in 2012? Also, the author is herself the product of that HK education system…

    Fact is, all the indications are that HKers are feeling less close to the Mainland than they did in 1997. That’s a generation ago.

    If it’s all down to colonial brainwashing, why are things moving that way?

  9. August 7th, 2012 at 22:50 | #9

    I am not sure if HKers are feeling less close to the Mainland than they did in 1997. In 2008, they clearly identified much closer to being Chinese and with the Mainland.

    I would say that the vocal bunch in HK have remained loud and vocal. China needs to be proactive and not allow the pro-British education to fester inside Hong Kong.

    I think we are seeing that now. SCMP will probably start to become less of a rabid anti-China mouth piece for the Brits.

  10. citizen
    August 8th, 2012 at 00:14 | #10

    Well, everyone in HK is pretty sure. The surveys about HK identity repeatedly show this, as do the massive numbers of people marching on July 1st, or attending June 4th rallies, or indeed the controversy over National Education. The unpopularity of CY Leung is largely down to a feeling that he is too close to Beijing. Please show me a recent survey or even a HK commentator who would disagree with this.

    Nobody except outsiders cares about the Brits in HK now – that’s simply irrelevant . If you think the SCMP is a mouthpiece for Brits, or there is pro-British education in HK, then you, like perspectivehere, are fighting an imaginary cold war that finished 15 years ago. What young people in particular are interested in is HK identity, and the way they feel it is threatened by the Mainland. That’s multi-faceted and would be worth discussing here.

  11. August 8th, 2012 at 00:45 | #11

    @citizen

    I guess I don’t understand you.

    Fundamentally, I don’t understand why you would pursue an identity that’s separate from the Mainland. Does it make sense for Californians to pursue an un-American identity?

    Now, Californians feel they are different from MidWest Americans. People in Shanghai have a certain level of resentment towards migrant workers because they think less of the poor. Both are conditions of human nature, and I can totally understand it.

    But your rejection of the Mainland seems vehement. Why?

  12. citizen
    August 8th, 2012 at 02:34 | #12

    I’m not rejecting the Mainland personally, and neither are the HKers I’m talking about. It’s more complicated than that.

    Imagine if California was populated by people (or the children of people) who had fled from the rest of US. Imagine if California thrived while the US had been involved in titanic upheavals , while the border between the two zones was pretty much closed for 30 years.

    Imagine if California, though becoming again a part of the US chose its own leader, had its own currency, its own central bank, its own government, its own way of speaking and writing, a distinctive musical and film culture, plus (very importantly) a completely separate and distinct legal system, along with a media by any measure much freer than that of the the rest of the US.

    Imagine if all those different political, legal, economic systems were enshrined in a special constitution, just for California.

    Imagine if California had over generations developed strong links with other countries that didn’t exist in the rest of the US. Imagine if many people had foreign passports, were educated overseas or had travelled and had family links around the world that weren’t there in the rest of the US.

    Imagine if California, before splitting from the rest of US, had been hardly populated at all, and had developed while apart from the US into a major economic force, and by some measures one of the richest places in the world.

    I’m stressing only the differences here of course, and plainly there are many links, economic, social, emotional and so on, which is why HKers don’t actually reject the Mainland. Among other things that’s why there is actually a growing interest in June 4th and increasing numbers of especially young people attending the rallies (plus a growing number of Mainlanders incidentally). Those people are doing the opposite of rejecting the Mainland.

    Does that help?

  13. August 8th, 2012 at 09:56 | #13

    @citizen
    You are clearly disllusion when you state that HK is getting “less close” to the mainland today than when compare to 1997. What survey are you talking about? All the survey I have seen shown otherwise. Show me one survey that today HKers think worst of the mainland today than 1997. However, if you put in a trick question like are you a Hong Konger (Huong Gong Yan) or Chinese Citizen (Zhong Gok Yan) the overwhelming majority will say the former. Is this how you based your fact is on?

    Do you know how many mainlander visit HK last year? (20 millions visit) Do you know how many HKers did the same? (70 millions times!) Of course by your reasoning it is less close compare to 1997.
    The phenomena you raised about HKers wary of identity change is valid. Mainlanders used to be called “Ah Chan”阿粲 in HK. Today this phrase no longer exist but is replaced by the phrase “Gong Chan”港粲

    Some HKers have this weird belief that they are inherently superior to mainlanders. However, this situation has changed and when encountering the nouveu rich from the mainland, many HKers felt dejected. The extreme news always get highlighted in supposedly free and fair HK press. It is either the super rich mainlanders buying up luxury condo raising property prices in HK, or poorer mainlanders taking away jobs and abusing the hospital services etc.

    When you talked about the protest, you failed to say why free and fair HK press never do a real study of the 6.4 incident? Hou DeJian, who was at the square the whole night has said that all the students left. However, every year most at the so-called 6.4 vigilant still believes hundreds if not thousands of students are massacred at the square. I don’t even think this is sensible at all.

    Let me be very blunt with you, those HKers are the ones that are really misinformed. However, HK although an SAR is still just another Chinese city. You keep harping on how special HK is compared to the rest of Chinese cities but failed to see that if not for development and new immigrants from the mainland HK economy would be in a tail spin since early 2000-2003. The situation improved until it almost overheated when the mainland allowed “free tourists” to come visit. For many decades, the mainland was kept back due to embargo by the west, that’s how HK benefitted. And many like to blame the CCP for that. Today, terms are more equal for other mainland cities.

    Sad to say, many HKers have this mentality that they are being ruled by mainlanders and I believe this cause the most grievance. This is the most defeatist view I have seen and it amplified itself the loudest in those so-called pro-democracy groups. Their most outspoken critic being Situ Wa and Martin Lee. Today, luckily they are no longer flags bearers and have since retired. In lieu of them, we now have the likes of “Long Hair” who just attacked everything but have nothing constructive to add, be it cultural, political or economical. The protest on the new national education is simply another manifestation of this being ruled mentality.

    Any politicians who want the best for HK must worked things in the context of being best for all of China too. HK is special but so is the mainland. From the results of election, the electorate are actually tilting towards the so-called建制 parties? Do you want to compare how they fare against the so-called democratic parties. They have been gaining (most of the time anyway). There will be new election this year, do you think the 建制 parties will do better or worse then or 15 yrs ago?

    Let’s face another fact. Some HKers are too used to being under colonial rule and think of HK as the centre of their universe. If this is their mentality, they will suffer because HK is obviously not the centre of the universe. This is why they need to think more in the interest of whole China. If they keep on believing in HK exceptionalism, they will go now where. Frankly, I think HK has its share of visionary too. HK’s Diaoyu protection has been very active and a HKer even lost his life for that. Many HK tycoons, intellectuals, professionals have been instrumental in helping create the economies in the mainland. This development is bringing HK closer and more integrated too.

    Lei hou. Are you really a HKer?

  14. perspectivehere
    August 8th, 2012 at 12:56 | #14

    citizen :
    Why are you citing an essay about colonial education (with bulk of the work done in 1996 and 1997, with some updating in 2000) when you want to know about HK education in 2012? Also, the author is herself the product of that HK education system…
    Fact is, all the indications are that HKers are feeling less close to the Mainland than they did in 1997. That’s a generation ago.
    If it’s all down to colonial brainwashing, why are things moving that way?

    Fact is, your understanding is very shallow. History matters.

    What you say is nonsense. You’re trying to discredit Wong’s research and the other researchers she cites on the basis that it is out-of-date and therefore irrelevant.

    Actually, the fact that it was written in 2004 helps my point, which is that those who are protesting the introduction of “national education” as indoctrination (some call it “brainwashing”) ignore the indoctrination (brainwashing) that took place before.

    Plus keep in mind that the basic education system in Hong Kong has not changed a whole lot since 1997. There have been moderate changes but not a wholesale overhaul. Hong Kong high school students still take the equivalent of UK exams (GCE) for university entry.

    In fact, it would be interesting to compare what people learned in “Chinese studies” in Hong Kong during the colonial period, and how that has changed in the post-colonial period, and is expected to change in a “national education” system.

    At this point, we don’t see much of that. What we see here is just protest and a lot of sound and fury which does not seem to be based on any real in-depth discussion of the issues. A tale told by idiots signifying nothing.

    Wong’s article (if you took the time to read it) is about how women in Hong Kong view their desire to aid women in China. Wong looks at two types of Hong Kong women, those who are “pro-Beijing” and work through PRC government initiatives, and those who are seeking “alternative”, non-governmental initiatives. In both cases, the Hong Kong women carry a kind of colonialist perspective of the oppressive conditions for women in China. What they discover (ironically) when they start working with women in China is how outspoken, independent and un-oppressed they really are. It is the colonialist representations of the “oppressive conditions for women in China” that turn out to be wrong.

    Wong is certainly a product of HK education. Good for her. And she kind of proves a point – that even under a system of indoctrination (as the British colonial system used), people are able develop critical thinking skills that allows them to question and reflect with some level of objectivity and intelligence upon that system.

    Actually, if you talk to people in Hong Kong, it is not at all as extreme the protests makes it appear. You in fact find a whole range of opinions, some reasonable, and some unreasonable.

    What is happening though (and I think that’s the point of the OP) is that this kind of normal conflict over curriculum (which happens everywhere) is heightened by media reports in a kind of fear-mongering hysteria, which is not productive.

    In fact, Hong Kong and mainland people should recognize the divisiveness that arises from this is ultimately self-destructive. See this essay by SCMP columnist Alex Lo, We Must Stop Feeding Mainland Cringe: an 11-year old girl, born in Hong Kong who is ashamed of her mainlander parents.

    “A family friend came to visit us recently in distress. She says their 11- year- old daughter has declared many times that she is ashamed of her and her husband. Originally from the mainland, the couple have lived here for more than a decade. The daughter was born in Hong Kong. Now she has declared she is not a mainlander but a “pure” Hongkonger.”

    This is very sad, and the mark of a toxic environment. It is reminiscent of the well-known “black doll/white doll” experiment, which showed to many Americans in the 1950’s the self-denigration that African-American children suffered from growing up in an environment that denigrates them. The updated experiment done recently by teenage African American filmmaker Kiri Davis shows that over 50 years after legal desegregation in America, African-American children still carry these same feelings.

    Watch the video “A Girl Like Me” – the description of Anglo-American treatment of Africans in the slave trade and thereafter, and how that affected how African-Americans see themselves, offers potent analogies for how negative representations and treatment of Chinese in the Anglo-Colonial world, of which Hong Kong is an important part, affect how Hong Kong Chinese see themselves.

  15. perspectivehere
    August 8th, 2012 at 13:50 | #15

    Kiri Davis is a wonderful role model for young Hong Kong Chinese.

    From her Wikipedia bio:

    “Kiri Laurelle Davis is an African-American filmmaker based in New York City. Her first documentary, A Girl Like Me (2005), made while enrolled at Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, has received significant news coverage.

    Kiri Davis’ mother, an education consultant, raised her daughter to be proud of her race and color. After completing her high school education two years after making her award-winning documentary, Davis was due to matriculate at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington DC for the fall 2007 semester.

    When aged just 16 and a student at the Urban Academy, Davis became interested in Brown v. Board of Education, and also Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s groundbreaking study of color preferences among young black children. She repeated the Clark study and asked children to choose between two dolls: a light-skinned one and a dark-skinned one. Fifteen out of the twenty-one children preferred the lighter-skinned doll when asked to pick “the nice doll.”

    The documentary that resulted includes selections from her repeat study and interviews with friends who talk about the importance of color, hair quality, and facial features for young black women today in the United States.”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^
    If you watch the video she made, you can see the thoughtful way in which she and her interviewees question and challenge the dominance of white-privilege mentalities.

    African Americans live a legacy of 400+ years of slavery and degradation based on their skin color / place of origin / parentage, primarily from the Anglo-American slave trade and slave labor system, and then post-abolition legal segregation.

    Chinese live a legacy of 170+ years of degradation due to foreign invasion, massacre, poisoning, coolie trade, labor trade, impoverishment, taxation, exclusion, marginalization and exploitation due primarily to British colonialism and British imperial policies in Australia, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, India and the UK itself, as well as American policies in the various states. Chinese have experienced turmoil, civil war, migration, famine, warlordism, revolution, industrialization and modernization. Yet Chinese have resisted throughout.

    Part of Kiri Davis’ journey is that she had a mother who “raised her daughter to be proud of her race and color.”

    How can young Hong Kong Chinese follow on a similar path, to question and challenge the mentalities and pathologies of white privilege?

  16. wwww1234
    August 8th, 2012 at 14:23 | #16

    @citizen

    Your analogy is fraud.
    Hong Kong, in the context of colonialism, served as the house slave for Britain, with the rest of china being the field slave.
    The necessity for a house slave, was dependent on most chinese being turned into field slaves.
    The reward of the house slave, was also in many ways, inversely proportional to the welfare of the field slave, or put it bluntly, the plundering/mistreatment/exploitation of the field slaves.

    And within the city of Hong Kong, people then were further divided into house slaves, vs the local “elite” that would be educated in English speaking schools and sent to London.

  17. August 8th, 2012 at 14:37 | #17

    A respond by Liu, I think he represents the voice of the silent majority:

    梁振英当上了特首之后,新政之一是不断集体发出电邮,发放政府的讯息。从好的方面看,这是特区政府与时并进,赶上了网络时代的表现。最起码,社会中成千上万的意见领袖,可以于第一时间,直接收到完整和未经删节或扭曲了的政府资讯,及时消除了许多误解和疑虑,这新政值得表扬。

    但是全世界的政府从来都是保守落伍的,当然没有可能追得上日新月异的网络文化。在网络中,每个人都是新闻创造者和发放者,通过网络,讯息如病毒般四面漫延,并频繁双向互动;而特区政府到今天依然是循着平面媒体的一级单向发放模式来运用网络媒体,效果是十分有限的。这样的处理,网络基本上是“小众媒体”,那一万几千个受众,对平面媒体,和电台电视等电子媒体来说,绝对是小儿科,因而特区政府在宣传战中至今依然处于挨打的位置,无法突围。反观反对派好像随便就能于网上动员数以万计的市民上街,便知政府和建设派对网络媒体认识肤浅和技巧运用低劣了。

    这现象同时也反映了特区政府和建设派更大的困境:平面媒体中,除了《文汇》和《大公》之外,根本就没有愿意发布和捍卫官方观点的可靠媒体。在电子媒体的世界中,就连类似《文汇》和《大公》的媒体都没有,连政府自己的《香港电台》,恰恰就是反政府大本营。政府的观点、建设派的声音,在传统主流媒体中,难以见天日。

    大众媒体一面倒,建设派的声音长期被扭曲、压抑,弄到建设派慢慢养成了避开传统媒体的习惯,加上评论员一个个被排挤、岐视,终于到今天几乎绝迹,万马齐瘖之局已成,反对派已经具备了颠倒黑白,指鹿为马的能力。

    国民教育是一个十分明显的例子。今天的所谓“国民教育”,全名是“德育及国民教育”,真正的国民教育只占很小的一部份。以每学年教学二十周,每周两节计算,从小学到高中十二年间总共只有480节课,当中真正与中国有关的部份只占课程的五分之一,即不到100节;而这里跟现代中国,即反对派所说的“洗脑”有关部份,怎样说也不到五分之一,即20节。于这短短20节之内能把学生“洗脑”,那真是神奇之极,到不可置信的地步。而把“德国教育”整个课程视为“洗脑”,而要取消它,更怎样看也不靠谱。

    而这从设计的第一秒已经被阉割了的“德国教育”课程,于推出谘询时还受到反对。当局把谘询版的指引几乎重头写过,把内容再次冲淡,顺应了所有反对意见,并且在推出时提出三年“开展期”,和给每间学校提供53万没有具体用途的“掩口费”,于是反对声音平息了,当局认为已经成功推出“德国教育”课程,于是鸣金收兵。

    谁知反对派向来都是既要吃肉,又要骂娘的。他们一方面对教育局的甜头照单全收,同时趁“中国模式”教材资料册不合口味,便捏造一些藉口大加讨伐,并且乘机把火头烧到建设派的有关机构,要政府停止资助;更即时蔓延到整个“德国教育”课程,把它标签为“洗脑”,并决意要彻底取消它。

    市面媒体乘机炒作,一犬吠形,百犬吠声,一面倒的鞭挞“洗脑”还不算,老板是反对派的大银主,并且是美国培植反共反华“新四人帮”成员的一家传媒,它除了如常煽动群众上街之余,还赤膊上阵,由其高层秘密组织家长示威,渲染为全港家长反“洗脑”,并号召罢课、罢教。但是全港18个家长教师会,已经有11个公开表态反对罢课,家教会代表与教育局开会之后,除了没有出席的一个之外,17个代表个人一致反对罢课。于此可见,反对罢课是香港社会主流意见,香港的主流媒体,颠倒是非黑白到了何等地步。

    在这媒体力量绝对悬殊的环境底下,反对派的选举策略是不断创造议题,藉此不断在媒体曝光,不断动员群众示威游行,削弱中央和特区政府威信,打击建设派和候选人。对此,建设派逆来顺受,到了骂不还口的地步,因为反正没有平台,回骂也没有人听得见,没有效果,一个不小心,还会被对手无中生有的围殴,死得更惨。至于创造议题、动员群众等策略,更想也不用想了。

    在这外行领导内行,但求无过的保守选举指导思想底下,建设派不但于传统媒体中失位、失语,连网络媒体也因己方没有新议题而只能绕着人家设定了的议题团团转,还要忍受人家的网军盯在自己的网页上胡说八道,对选情一无帮助。

    可幸选举在一个月之后便会结束,但是香港的媒体生态依旧的话,首当其冲的必然是特区政府,整个团队时刻都处于要求“比白更白”的显微镜监督之下,什么事情都不敢做、不能做、每做必挨骂、还要时刻提心吊胆,不知何时被媒体揭发一些连自己都已经忘记了的陈年旧账,自己和家人被斗得死去活来,还要灰溜溜的下台。在媒体与反对力量接二连三的成功狙击新政府班子成员之后,不少资深公务员已计划提早退休,离开是非圈,争取软着陆;至于一些非公务员问责官员的位置,因为厨房过热,不少有能力的人都退避三舍,免遭无妄之灾。

    与此同时,中央的威信被急速磨损,加上经伪民意调查和媒体刻意渲染,更进入一个不知真假的低谷之中;香港市民跟内地同胞的矛盾被突出和放大,造成了香港和内地之间空前的疏离感。在今年的“七一”游行,独港、港独的旗帜都开始冒现,直接挑战国家主权和一国两制。对此,媒体不单没有谴责,还有公开赞赏支持的。香港的新闻自由和言论自由,完全被反对势力所骑劫,已经到了肆无忌惮的地步。

    长期以来,中央为了顾存大局,对香港媒体的异化采取放任态度,但是今天我国内外形势都不可能容许这样继续胡闹下去。这回就国民教育的较量,因为明显无理取闹,骗不到大部份市民,而且接触到核心利益,中央和特区政府已经退无可退,反对力量一鼓作气,已经开始再衰三竭。反对派迷信谎话说一百次会变真,结果往往连自己都受了骗。目前香港这种极具破坏性的媒体生态是不可能持续的,媒体如不自重,迷途忘返,对己对人都没有好结果。

    作者刘乃强,1947年生于香港。现任全国人大常委会基本法委员会委员、香港理工大学中国商业中心研究员。

    http://opinion.m4.cn/2012-08/1177488.shtml

  18. Charles Liu
    August 8th, 2012 at 15:07 | #18

    Here’s what the MP from the Basic Law Committee said:

    “香港的新闻自由和言论自由,完全被反对势力所骑劫,已经到了肆无忌惮的地步。”

    “Today’s brazenly unscrupulous situation is caused by the free press and free speech that’s been completely hijacked by the opposition force.”

  19. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 00:31 | #19

    I know I’m going to regret getting in these discussions, but here goes anyway:

    @perspectivehere

    You say ‘ it would be interesting to compare what people learned in “Chinese studies” in Hong Kong during the colonial period, and how that has changed in the post-colonial period, and is expected to change in a “national education” system’.

    I completely agree, but the article you cite (which I read very carefully BTW) is strictly about the colonial period, hardly at all about education, and in fact the only statements it presents about colonial education come from 1953. Yep, 1953 – that’s just about 60 years ago. The relevance to 2012 is obviously pretty thin.

    If you really want to know how national education is ‘expected to change’ have a look at part of a proposed textbook:

    http://badcanto.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/hong-kong-national-education-two-party-system-makes-american-suffer/

    And you are obviously not very up to date on the education system yourself. The exams you say Hong Kong students ‘still take’ have been scrapped. And there have been other more significant changes – like the fact that Chinese rather than English became the default language in education (the ‘Medium of Instruction’) in 1998.

    Back on the article, I wasn’t trying to ‘discredit her research’ as you claim, I was trying to discredit your use of it in this context. You presented it as evidence of ‘what education about China is like in Hong Kong as a result of British colonial rule’. It’s nothing of the sort.

    You go on to say – ‘In fact, Hong Kong and mainland people should recognize the divisiveness that arises from this is ultimately self-destructive’. I tend to agree with this too, but the point I was making to yinyang was descriptive (as requested) rather than prescriptive.

    But to jump as you do from the Hong Kong experience to self-hating Afro-Americans is just bizarre, and so sloppy its unworthy of you.

  20. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 01:09 | #20

    @Ray

    You ask what surveys I am referring to – well look through these:

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/

    Some highlights: HK people’s trust in the Beijing Government is at its lowest point since July 1997. Asked whether they were proud of formally becoming a national citizen of China after the handover, in July 1997 there were equal numbers saying yes and no. In June 2012, about 38% said yes, while 58% said no. In 1997, 63% of people thought that the Chinese Government did the wrong thing in the June 4th incident. Now its 69%.

    You say ‘all the surveys I have seen show otherwise’. Could you please show the rest of us those surveys?

  21. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 01:17 | #21

    @Charles Liu

    I have no idea what you mean by an ‘MP from the Basic Law Committee’.

    Still ‘brazenly unscrupulous’ has a lovely ring to it.

    Could you translate #17? Thanks.

  22. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 01:19 | #22

    @wwww1234

    The analogy with California came from yinyang, not me.

  23. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 02:16 | #23

    @citizen
    @Charles Liu

    You asked for a translation, here’s the quote in context:

    在今年的「七一」遊行,獨港、港獨的旗幟都開始冒現,直接挑戰國家主權和一國兩制。對此,媒體不單沒有譴責,還有公開讚賞支持的。香港的新聞自由和言論自由,完全被反對勢力所騎劫,已經到了肆無忌憚的地步。

    And here’s my translation:

    ‘At this year’s ‘7-1′ [anniversary of the founding of the CCP] demonstration, Hong Kong independence banners started to appear, directly challanging state authority and one country, two systems. At this, not only did the media not condemn [these actions], but also publicised it with support and appreciation. Hong Kong’s freedom of the press and free speech have been completely hijacked by the influence of the opposition, which has lead to the current unscrupulous and brazen extent.’

    This is just one possible translation. It’s not perfect, nor is any translation. Any translation only gives you what the translator thinks the text means, and this is affected by their own use of language, and, to a degree, their own ideology.

    Compare the final sentence of my translation with the one by Charles:

    ‘Hong Kong’s freedom of the press and free speech have been completely hijacked by the influence of the opposition, which has lead to the current unscrupulous and brazen extent.’ (Harry)

    ‘Today’s brazenly unscrupulous situation is caused by the free press and free speech that’s been completely hijacked by the opposition force.’ (Charles)

    Just to push you a little bit on your translation, Charles, what part of the quote did you translate as ‘is caused by’?

  24. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 03:11 | #24

    Thanks JustHarry. And who is this author, apparently speaking for the silent majority?

  25. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 03:27 | #25

    @citizen

    Lau Nai-keung 劉迺強

    What do you think of the quote and my points on translation? I appreciate that you may not read Chinese, so you can’t comment on their faithfulness to the original, but do you think the two possible translations show anything different?

  26. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 03:28 | #26
  27. citizen
    August 9th, 2012 at 05:04 | #27

    @justharry

    I guess what you’re getting at is the distinction between the problems being caused by a free press, or by the abuse of a free press.

    Knowing something of Lau Nai keung (and having met him a couple of times) I wouldn’t be surprised if his intended meaning was closer to Charles’ version. Or am I misreading things?

    @ yinyang you may be interested to know that Lau Nai keung has been quite a regular columnist in the SCMP that you imagine to be a Brit mouthpiece.

    @Ray and Charles Liu . If you honestly think that a fringe character like Lau Nai keung is the voice of the silent majority, you know perhaps even less about politics and culture in hk than might be guessed from your complete misunderstanding of the significance of the Star Ferry.

  28. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 05:22 | #28

    I don’t want to get side tracked from the two threads about Hong Kong which raise some interesting points. Parents taking their kids to political demonstrations and getting them to do stuff like carry banners and chant slogans is not only irresponsible, it’s dangerous. Why do some parents do this kind of thing? They’re convinced that they are right and therefore everyone else, including their children, should think as they do.

    However, most intelligent and reasonable adults arrive at their opinions, ideology and beliefs following years of life experience. To just cram kids heads full of our own beliefs is to deny them the opportunity to learn and grow for themselves, regardless of whether or not they might end up disagreeing with us.

    So, IMHO, children and young people should be raised and educated in an environment that emphasises and stimulates critical, independent thought above adherence to any particular ideology. This, I think, applies to both parenting and education.

  29. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 05:27 | #29

    @citizen

    Yes, that’s what I’m getting at.

    Also, he notes:

    ‘At this, not only did the media not condemn [these actions], but also publicised it with support and appreciation.’

    This is just contradictory. So Lau reckons that the press shouldn’t support the rallies, but condemmning them is okay?

  30. JustHarry
    August 9th, 2012 at 05:31 | #30

    Above, some users note that perhaps the colonial education system was not sino-centric, or was not sino-centric enough. Furthermore, others note that the colonial government used education to maintain control of Hong Kong. I wonder if anyone can provide some primary data, maybe some textbooks from before 1997 or something. But, in the mean time I thought you might find the following, more recent, paper by Lau Chui Shan interesting reading. Here is the conclusion:

    ‘As an alien colonizer, the British Hong Kong government maintained social cohesion and economic prosperity without serious disruptions in its 155-year regime. This article suggests the British education policy posed as an important vehicle to consolidate its rule. It argues the emphasis of Chineseness empowered the colonial government to stop the political infiltration from either the pro-Beijing or the pro-Taiwan factions; spared the government from the accusation of destroying Chinese culture, thus, encouraging apathy towards politics and legitimized the colonial rule.’

    – The Function of Education in Shaping Chinese National Identity in Colonial Hong Kong (2010)
    https://www4.nau.edu/cee/jep/journals.aspx?id=361

    Lau Chui Shan’s argues that the colonial government did use education to consolidate its role, but that an education system which emphasised Chineseness was part of it. The modern day Chinese government stresses the need for stability and growth. If nothing else, under the Hong Kong colonial government there was stability and growth throughout periods when the region saw great upheavals. Do you think the Chinese government of today can learn anything from the approach of the colonial government towards education?

    I look forward to reading your responses, but I won’t be able to reply straight away as I’m going on vacation for a few days.

  31. August 9th, 2012 at 09:43 | #31

    @citizen
    Like I have already said, the survey is a trick question. Take a look at the actual chart. Does it really make any sense to anybody? What is the purpose of this survey? Asking whether one is Hong Kong citizen, Chinese HK citizen, HK Chinese citizen, Chinese citizen?

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/ethnic/eidentity/poll/datatables.html

    Imagine a survey in the US asking whether one is a New Yorker, New Yorker American, New Yorker US citizen, American New Yorker?

    Here is a survey on the PLA garrison in HK, the approval rating is around 37% in 1997 to 50% in 2012. The disapproval rating has gone from 10% in 1997 to 5% in 2012. (Approval rating peak of 70% in 2004, 68% in 2008, which I believe is seeing them on TV doing rescue and humanitarian work). In my opinion, this is more a barometer of trust than anything else.

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pla/poll/pla_poll_chart.html

    This what I based most of my argument on, which is the support of pro-mainland parties which has the highest rating, compare that to 1997 when the DP has the highest.

    In 1997,
    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable-5.html

    In 2012,
    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable59.html

    But I am realistic enough to say that the support would change during election depending on the candidates and local issues. But the days of DP having the absolute majority support of 63% is over. In fact, it is this uncertainty that actually hurt the economical and social development of HK from 1997-2012. My comparison is to Macau from 1999 to 2012 whose GDP almost tripled while HK stagnant. Of course, Taiwan did pretty badly on those account from 2000 to 2008.

    And your reminder of the 6.4 incident actually proved my point. The people who go to those rally or vigilant are not interested in the truth.

    When you talked about the trust being at the lowest, do you factor in the role the press play? However, IMO the biggest factor is still the economy and the sense of HKers feeling dejected. Since 2008 the housing price has doubled while pay has stay the same. The same is actually true even in Vancouver, Toronto, Singapore.

    This is probably the survey you based your opinion on. “On the whole, do you trust the Beijing Central Government?”. It is not black as white as you say when it dropped on 2012 compare to 1997. The survey question is very loose. As you can tell the trust is actually highest around 2007 to 2009 where 55% trust or very trust the central government. This period coincide with the start of economic boom in HK. So the opinion is not always the same.

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/trust/trustchigov/poll/datatables.html

    The following survey is done as a 15th anniversary of the return of HK, “Do you think Hong Kong has become better or worse since 1997?” because it contained results such as so much better (4.9%), slightly better (12.6%), no change (15.6%), slightly worse (24.4%), so much worse (38.9%), don’t know (3.6%). I personally think it is not conclusive enough because HK’s economy is now overheated again.

    It is most telling rather in this question “Do you think the gap between the rich and poor in Hong Kong has widened, narrowed or more or less the same in the past 15 years?”. A whopping 73.1 % said “yes”.

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/report/scmp15handover/index.html

    So like people in Europe and US, most HKers discontent is more focus on perceived economic inequality and always blame the government when that happened.

    Here’s another HK specialty, this survey asked the opinion on various government. I will highlight the negative. So as one can tell, the average HK person doesn’t necessary think badly of the central government and still think it in better light than say US, Japanese and Filipino gov.

    HK SAR Gov (36% negative)
    Mainland Gov (32% negative)
    US Gov (37% negative)
    Japanese Gov (41%)
    Filipino Gov (83% negative)

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/government/datatables/datatable11.html

    For me if I want to use survey to get a perception of reality on the ground, to use a single one would not give you a clear picture. To be honest, I don’t think most HK people are brainwashed by any side but I must say that 90% of the free press there took an easy swipe against the central government and mainlanders as a convenient scapegoat. This lack of objectivity is what is hurting the social, economical and political development of HK.

  32. August 9th, 2012 at 09:53 | #32

    @citizen
    Does anybody lost sleep or cry over the demolition of the Star Ferry now? Like I have said it is more of people needing expression.

    I probably didn’t meant to say Lau represnt the silent majority (if he is, he will win all election wouldn’t he?)

    But imo opinion Lau’s view of the role of press mirror that of the silent majority on the issue of HK press. Dig up the trust people of HK have on the press and you will get the picture.

  33. August 9th, 2012 at 09:58 | #33

    Ray – I’ve added your survey results to OP. Thx.

  34. citizen
    August 10th, 2012 at 03:10 | #34

    @Ray

    Thanks for doing the work and pulling out details of the many polls that HKU POP produces.

    I honestly can’t see that you’ve made any more than one point though, or refuted, or even properly addressed any of mine. I appreciate the time you’ve spent, and your reasonable tone, but your answer also shows why I’m kind of reluctant to join these discussions. Scattergun posts, like your last one, require following up ten arguments at the same time. Anyway, here goes my lunchtime… I’ll try to get things a bit more ordered:

    1. In #13 you asked me to ‘show one survey that HKers think worse of the Mainland today than 1997.’ I obliged with not one, but three surveys in #20. Here are the details:
    a. http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/trust/trustchigov/poll/datatables.html
    b. http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/handover/ethnic/datatables.html
    c. http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/features/june4/chiGov_chart.html
    For a. the mean value for trust in the Beijing Government on 15 July 1997, was 3.0. In the latest poll, it was 2.8, the lowest it has been in the intervening 15 years. The question asked was ‘ On the whole, do you trust the Beijing Central Government?’

    You refer to this issue of trust and the poll results with four points: That ‘the question is very loose’; that trust has gone up and down over the years (‘The opinion is not always the same’); that the results are related to the economy, and finally you ask ‘When you talked about the trust being at the lowest, do you factor in the role the press play?’

    My response to those points – first I can’t see that the question is particularly loose. It seems pretty specific to me. Even if it wasn’t, the ambiguities would be the same over time, so you could still see trends.

    Second, of course the trust has gone up and down, and opinion is not always the same. What would you expect? The survey still suggests that there is less trust of Beijing than there has been since 1997.

    Third, the relation to the economy. Well here you do something that you and plenty of commentators often do – deny there’s a state of affairs, and then account for it. You can’t have it both ways. If there is an increasing gap between HKers and the Mainland, we can talk about reasons. If you say there isn’t, why are you trying to explain it?

    Finally with the point about the press I would respond the same way. If there’s no problem, why drag in the press? More generally you and a depressing number of people on Hidden Harmonies credit the media with enormous powers of persuasion when you disagree with them, but not otherwise. So no-one says for example that HKers have become closer in every way to the Mainland, and that this is because of the influence of the media.

    For b. The question was ‘are you proud of formally becoming a national citizen of China after the 1997 Handover?’. On June 30th 1997, 46.6% said yes, 45.7% said no. In June of 2012, 36.9% said yes, while 57.8% said no.

    I didn’t notice that you responded to this, but it seems a good, relevant question if we are considering how HKers feel about the Mainland. You might say that these surveys about citizenship and the Beijing Government are primarily political, and are only part of the story about how HKers feel about the Mainland. I would, anyway.

    So we could also look at how Hkers feel about people from the Mainland, not just their Government. Here the results are even more striking:

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/people/datatables/datatable10.html

    People this year were asked ‘Generally speaking, are your feelings about the XXX People positive or negative?’

    The poll covered Greater China and other countries. Hidden Harmonies contributors who are under the impression that HKers worship their white colonial oppressors should take note – the most popular people were, in descending order, people from Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Canada, Macau, Australia, South Korea, and Britain. Americans don’t do well I’m afraid guys, with only 38% of people having positive feelings towards you.

    But Mainlanders are even worse – with only 27% positive sentiment.

    c. June 4th. I pointed out that more people now than in 1997 think the Chinese Government did the wrong thing. You responded by saying ‘Your reminder of the 6.4 incident actually proved my point. The people who go to those rally or vigilant are not interested in the truth’.

    I’m not clear what point you think was proved (your comment comes after a paragraph about the Macau and Taiwanese economies). But again, whether or not those who respond to the survey or attend the rallies agree with you (or me), is neither here nor there.

    2. I asked you for a survey which showed that HKers are becoming closer to the Mainland, or at least not becoming further apart. You point to two, one about the PLA garrison in HK, and one that compares the rating of political parties. You stress this latter, saying ‘This is what I based most of my argument on’.

    For this survey you compare ratings in 1997
    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable-5.html
    And in 2012

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/popexpress/pgrating/datatables/datatable59.html

    But you are making a basic error in the comparison. In 1997 there are 5 parties. In 2012 there are 10. Basically the Pro-Democratic camp has split (or grown) into different parties, so you would expect that rating for the main one, the Democratic Party, to go down as its support is diffused among semi-rivals, like the Civic Party.

    You are just confused when you add ‘ the days of DP having the absolute majority support of 63% is over’. The percentage in these surveys refers to how highly people rate the parties, so if I like one a lot I will give it 90% and another one maybe 20%. The 63% is an average rating out of 100, and nothing to do with a portion of a whole, majority or a minority.

    If you look at election results from 2000, 2004, and 2008 you can see that the overall support for the democratic camp is pretty stable (61%, 62% and 60% of the popular vote).

    Now at the same time the support for the pro-Beijing parties has indeed increased: (33%, 37%, 40% of popular vote). Here I completely agree with you, but I have to ask, is that it? We could talk more about this if you like, and prospects for September.

    On the PLA garrison in HK, again you are right, but even more loudly I mumble, so what? The PLA is practically invisible, as you know, and has remained so since 1997. They do a few displays, they have the odd open day, and enthusiasts turn up. Their disapproval rating has never been above 5% – it’s just not an issue, still less an accurate way to assess how HKers feel about the Mainland.

    3. National Identity. Well I know people get very exercised about this, which is one reason I didn’t cite the survey results from POP on this issue to you.
    And ‘it’s complicated’. The surveys are detailed and multi-levelled, as they have to be when looking at a strange beast like this.

    But I can say that people all over the world have multiple overlapping identities, and there’s nothing contradictory or traitorous about it. It would make perfect sense to ask a person in say Scotland, whether they primarily identify themselves as a Scot, or a Brit, or a European, or even a global citizen. Some of the POP polls do this, and it’s reasonable and useful, not a ‘trick question’ as you suggest.

    But the surveys work on another level too, where they don’t just ask people to pick one ‘primary’ identity, they also ask people to rate how strongly they feel their strength of identity for various categories. So how strongly they feel themselves to be a HKer, how strongly a PRC citizen, and so on. This is the finding that was controversial in Dec 2011. Robert Chung, who runs the poll explains it in great detail here if you are interested:

    http://hkupop.hku.hk/english/release/release937_annex.pdf

    The most dramatic finding was that people’s identification with ‘HK Citizen’ has reached a ten year high, while the identification with “Chinese Citizen’ was at a 12 year low. Note that people were completely free to say that they identified equally with both.

    Clearly, this is a useful way to discover how people feel about their place in the world, and those results show that HKers – and especially young people – increasingly feel more a part of HK than of China. A Scot might feel more Scottish than European, or British while acknowledging that he is all those things. Where’s the trick?

    4. I’m running out of time – sorry. I’ll just ask again, why do you offer explanations for the gap between we are trying to identify (wealth disparity, GDP, press, housing prices) while denying the gap is even there?

    Fact is, as I said a long long time ago, there is a growing emotional distance between HK and the Mainland. Even NPC delegate Bernard Chan admits that in an editorial in the SCMP today, even Lau Nai keung. It’s a commonplace. The HK Independence movement is another interesting symptom by the way:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_independence_movement

    Now as to why this is happening, and what the consequences are…

    5. Lau Nai-keung has never stood for any sort of election. Wonder why?

    6. They missed Star Ferry so much they built it all over again:

    http://www.nextstophongkong.com/2012/03/ocean-park-35-year-anniversary-memories-of-old-hong-kong-life/

  35. Zack
    August 10th, 2012 at 07:43 | #35

    An interesting thing i’ve noticed about HKers is that whilst some may bitch and moan about the mainland government-which is really no different to any other citizen complaining about the government, they’ll still be nationalistic outside of HK and China anyhow, they’ll still take pride when China wins gold in the Olympics, and one thing that they can agree on is that a strong China is good for all Chinese, mainland or not, alike.

    In fact there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the so called ‘HK Independence movement’ is artificial and funded by foreign governments-and in any case, given HK’s merging with Shenzhen and perhaps Guangzhou in the future, this whole HK democraship BS is moot.

    ppl like Citizen who may or may not be a Hong Konger are the kind of people like Minxin Pei/willy lam /gordon chang who hope that if they’re critical of China enough, that they’ll finally be accepted into anglo white society, that if they distance themselves away from their cultural and national heritage, they may find acceptance with the predominantly white western nations.

  36. August 10th, 2012 at 08:49 | #36

    @citizen
    However, you have never even bothered to answer my earlier point that 20 million visits from mainlander and a whopping 70 million visit from HK residents to the mainland? So basically what you are suggesting is that because “perception of trust” is reduced, more HK residents visit the mainland? Explain to me why is this possible.

    Like I have said the trust level go up and down mainly correspond with economics. The US and many European countries have the same distrust towards their government for precisely the same reason. If I were to conclude that the American and European distrust their government more 15 years later because the governance is getting worse, would you agree? If you chose a point at 2007 to do a survey, you will find it is an all time high. The economic collapse caused by US sub-prime mortgage destroyed all that sense of well being and trust! Don’t skirt the issue here, explain why trust in HK is at an all time high at 2007-2009 and then gradually plummeted. The reality is the economic crisis that started in the US spread misery throughout the world, the QE1 and QE2 cause inflation worldwide resulting in the so-called Arab spring.

    Your point is dealing with present data only to draw the conclusion that HK people has less and less trust in the central government. That is not true, it gradually rise and peak in 2008 then gradually fell again due to the economy.

    I never said the media alone affect the perception. But the false reporting of the 6.4 incident for example is proof of that. The opposition parties in HK and the wrested interest does not allow 6.4 to be discuss in a truthful matter. Any attempt to present the incident in true light is shot down by the majority of the press. Without the distortion of the fact there would not be a 6.4 vigilant in HK period. If it does, it will be a subject of redicule.
    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20070517_1.htm

    If you think that the power of the persuasion of the press is negligible, you are being delusional. The election campaign are pretty much decided by the reporting of the press. Around 1/4 of American who believed that Obama is a Muslim and not born a US citizen is proof of that. That’s the power of the press.

    Like many of those here, we believe an unfair and distorted reporting will change public opinion and exacerbate a bad situation. This is precisely what happened in HK. The press and the feeling of being ruled, overrun is what is causing this mixed feeling. The mainlanders are in the situation of either being overpaid nouveu rich or underpaid social leech but most importantly over here. “The mainlanders” are always in the news in HK press and 90% of it is bad. No press ever mentioned only 20 millions mainlanders visit HK and why 70 million reciprocal visit from the island. It is always bad news, rarely mentioning the benefits of interaction.

    You like to quote that 28% has negative feeling towards mainlander but what about 27% who has positive feeling and 39% half-half (so-so) feeling. So in reality, 67% find the mainlanders ok. It should be more telling in the survey show the trust level in various government. The trust of the Chinese central government is higher than HK SAR, more than the US and more than Japan. Interestingly, the highest rated government is considered that of Macau and Singapore.

    As for election, you are the one who are confused. In HK, the parties are either labelled as pro-Beijing or the opposition. It used to be that the DP has absolute majority but in recent years they no longer have that. This why I put the article written by Lau here, his gist of the argument was that the press is totally distortion the situation for political mileage. My initial post on this issue on national education clearly pointed out this issue is being milked solely for political gain at the election, nothing more. This is my biggest concern. I have the feeling that if the national education issue is not handle properly the DP will win more again. That’s my concern all along. I know well enough that this issue is not about brain washing (those protesters don’t believe it themselves). It is all for the sake of politics here. But it will make folks like you happy that the DP gained, isn’t it?

    The approval rating of the PLA is another important measure of the trust the people have on the central government and presently sit at 50%, and has peak of 70%. As you are not from HK, you would never understand the significance of this. The reason why 6.4 is always on the mind of some HK residents is because, some has this underlying fear that an imaginary 6.4 massacre would happen on HK.

    You never understood the irony of the Star Ferry Pier and probably will never get my point in this issue. Those people who protest and hunger strike do so solely on the sentiment they have on the pier. Pretty much all couples in HK dated at one time or another at the pier, meet friends there have fond memories left over. However, the pier is clearly too small to support future growth. It doesn’t make sense to keep a fifty year old pier design to support population less than a third the present figure. No matter what the argument for it, the pier has to go. It is not worth the hunger strike, suffles or injury.

    From our discussion, I noticed the fundamental difference between you and me. I analyze the situation, try to understand it, find the root cause and try to find solution for any conflict. You on the other hand simply try to push an anti-China agenda regardless. You probably will pulled out TI, TGIE next, right? Til lei lou mou lah. Oh, sorry you can’t speak Cantonese, the lingua franca of HK.

    The reality is, the movement of people between the mainland and HK will definitely reached 100 million in the next few years. Nothing can stop that.

  37. August 10th, 2012 at 08:52 | #37

    @Zack
    No, citizen is definitely not from HK.

  38. Zack
    August 10th, 2012 at 09:16 | #38

    @Ray
    i suspected as much; i’ve spoken to and have a lot of HK friends and i can definitively say that they identify themselves as Chinese, and that any sort of ‘HK secessionism’ is a pipe dream; there’s more chance of the confederacy of the US seceding again than HK seceding.

    In other news, Wanda group finally receives approval from the US to complete its purchase of AMC; all the more reason to enjoy movies next time you pop over to AMC THeatres. Personally i can’t wait for the 3D version of the upcoming Tsui Hark film:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjiS1Z-8cqE

    i see this, and James Cameron’s deal with Chinese filmmakers as signs that there remains some hope of american accommodation with china’s rise, even if it is in business. FIlmmaking is different because its the core of american soft power; if they’re ok with China forming mega chain of theatres, then let’s hope they’re ok with showing more improved Chinese films to the american public

  39. perspectivehere
    August 10th, 2012 at 09:53 | #39

    Zack :
    An interesting thing i’ve noticed about HKers is that whilst some may bitch and moan about the mainland government-which is really no different to any other citizen complaining about the government, they’ll still be nationalistic outside of HK and China anyhow, they’ll still take pride when China wins gold in the Olympics, and one thing that they can agree on is that a strong China is good for all Chinese, mainland or not, alike.
    In fact there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the so called ‘HK Independence movement’ is artificial and funded by foreign governments-and in any case, given HK’s merging with Shenzhen and perhaps Guangzhou in the future, this whole HK democraship BS is moot.
    ppl like Citizen who may or may not be a Hong Konger are the kind of people like Minxin Pei/willy lam /gordon chang who hope that if they’re critical of China enough, that they’ll finally be accepted into anglo white society, that if they distance themselves away from their cultural and national heritage, they may find acceptance with the predominantly white western nations.

    I agree with you on your first paragraph. This is something widely observable and there is lots of evidence for expression of these kinds of pro-China sentiments. You can see lots of news interviews with HK people about the Olympics and there is pride in China’s wins.

    For the second paragraph, I don’t have any direct evidence, but I think it’s highly likely (see my next comment below some historical and theoretical evidence for the likelihood of this happening).

    For your third, i think these kinds of speculations on people’s psychological motivations are not provable, unless they write a memoir admitting to these views, and so these are weak arguments. They may be true, or they might not be. In any event, I don’t think it matters. If a Chinese person prefers to be accepted into anglo white society, so what? They have to live their lives within their circles and their environment. It’s not that big a deal, so I don’t think it helps your arguments much at all.

    (I will post something later that is quite interesting on a study done of Chinese youths in Northern Ireland, and comparing experiences of Chinese youths from the Mainland vs. Chinese youths from Hong Kong. The results are surprising.) Also, people go through different stages in life. At one stage, they may prefer to be around Chinese, at another they may prefer to grow in a non-Chinese direction – anglo, african, latino, southeast asian etc. The world is a very big place, and multi-cultural. As an Australian-Chinese, you probably appreciate your cultural distinctiveness from Chinese living in other parts of the globe. People have a right to try on different identities. (Although I do think that when people who do take on a pro-Western direction and insist that that is the best way or only way for Chinese to develop …. well, that is the insufferable part).

  40. perspectivehere
    August 10th, 2012 at 10:01 | #40

    Further to my comment#39 above :

    Zack wrote: “In fact there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the so called ‘HK Independence movement’ is artificial and funded by foreign governments….”

    I think this is highly likely, considering this observation of “divide and rule” (or “divide and conquer”) tactics:

    “External powers, meanwhile, have long promoted secession or separatist movements in resource-rich and strategic regions, from the Kaiser’s posture as ‘protector of Muslims’ during the late Ottoman Empire, through the Biafran conflict, down to the Ogaden and Nubian peoples today. (Which is not to say that such groups aren’t sometimes or usually genuine victims of misfortune and repression). In this they have been assisted by the ‘progressive’ gloss applied to the principle of ‘self-determination’ through its wielding by Austro-Marxists and Stalinists along with Wilsonian internationalists and their latter-day epigones among the NGO and activist set.

    These tactics are the bread and butter of security and intelligence organisations, diplomats and politicians. The propertied classes, meanwhile, may benefit from segmented labour markets (where due to scarcity or costly training for some jobs there is a dispersal of wage rates and other conditions of employment, with horizontal mobility of workers limited) and anti-immigrant xenophobia.

    There are other groups, foremost among them the media, that assist divide-and-rule strategies without themselves sharing the incentives and immediate objectives of ruling groups. Both the ‘yellow’ and ‘quality’ press, for sound business reasons, revel in promoting, egging on and inventing lurid tales of social conflict, pitting one group – race, gender, generation – against another.”

    Here and here are examples of media pitting one group against another.

    I’m sure you can find ample examples of this phenomenon in Hong Kong.

    I just saw something in the Financial Times today, about Singapore winning a gold medal, and some internet commenters saying that they don’t feel proud because the winner is born in China. This is a good example of “divide and conquer” tactics. It is important to point out the tactic and not get drawn into picking sides.

  41. citizen
    August 10th, 2012 at 21:27 | #41

    @ray and zack

    Show me a single anti China comment I have made here.

  42. August 10th, 2012 at 23:12 | #42

    @citizen
    See, since slavery has ended, African American hated white American more and more. Here’s the proof. It must be because whites did bad things to African American:

    http://www.newnation.org/NNN-Black-on-White.html

    US troops got what they deserved:

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/three-u-soldiers-killed-uniformed-afghan-helmand-064345412.html?_esi=0&ugccmtnav=v1%2Fcomments%2Fcontext%2F238beed8-9397-3ea7-ba4a-177579cddccb%2Fcomments%3Fcount%3D20%26sortBy%3Doldest

    If I continue to make this kind of remark, and posting this type of articles. I bet most would say I am anti-America.

    From our exchanges, I can see that you have already made up your mind on what you want to believe. The reality on the ground is always more multi-facets and includes many sides of different stories. What you attempted to do was presenting only selective info to reinforce your prejudice, while ignoring others that contradict your point.

  43. perspectivehere
    August 11th, 2012 at 00:27 | #43

    Further to my comment #40 above:

    This path-breaking 2009 research paper, “Divide and Conquer” written by Eric Posner, Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and Kathryn Spier and Adrian Vermeule, both Professors of Law at Harvard Law School, gives a succinct summary and analysis of some of the methods used by the British in acquiring and managing its colonial empire. The paper approaches these methods from the perspective of Game Theory, particularly the concepts of Prisoners’ Dilemma and Stag Hunt.

    Note that the authors suggest that, while the British made successful use of these tactics to conquer, colonize and manage the Indian monarchies, it was only successful as long as the conquered peoples were unaware that the British were using such tactics. Once the various Indian states became aware that the British used these tactics divide and conquer tactics, this aroused Indian nationalism which eventually unified the various Indian states to expel the “English nation from India”. Hence, these divide and conquer tactics can give short-term success but are ultimately self-defeating in the long run.

    It would be interesting to know whether authors Posner, Spier and Vermuele would consider the development of modern Chinese nationalism (considering the disunity towards foreign invasion at the time of the Opium War, to the “awakening” that occurred at the May 4th Movement and then the rise of the Chinese Communist Party which took place against a backdrop of China’s role in the alliance against Japanese invasion which itself weakened the British, German, French, and American semi-colonial hold on China) as an example of a similar phenomenon.

    And for people who are from Hong Kong, it may be illuminating to consider the extent to which Chinese people in Hong Kong have been used (or “game played”) by the British by means of the same methods, and whether similar “game play” is being done today, given the history of the British elsewhere and in Hong Kong.

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^
    “D. Imperialism, Colonialism, and Race Relations
    ….
    Divide and conquer has been a time-honored strategy of many other imperial and colonial powers as well. Such powers are typically overstretched and understaffed; their problem is how to achieve maximum control with a minimum of resources and force. Divide and conquer is an attractive solution in such environments, because it is cheaper to set factions within the latent opposition to fighting among themselves, and if necessary to defeat them piecemeal, than it is to defeat them as a unified enemy.

    In some cases, the imperial divide and conquer policy rested straightforwardly on discriminatory offers to split the opposition. British policy in India was to create and exploit divisions among the indigenous monarchies by means of explicit or implicit subsidies to loyal allies, “who competed with each other for imperial favours” (Ashton 1982, 4). Although some of these subsidies were large, some merely involved honors and titles (Copland 1982, 94), and in any form they were certainly cheaper than all-out conflict against a unified opposition.

    In other cases, imperialist divide and conquer tactics involved fomenting divisions among subjugated groups by sowing mutual mistrust, rather than by selective bribery. In the British colonies of the American southeast,

    [i]n addition to keeping Indians and Negroes apart,
    Whites pitted the colored groups against each other.
    In 1725, Richard Ludlam a South Carolina minister,
    confessed that ‘we make use of a Wile for our [present]
    Security to make Indians & Negro’s a cheque upon each
    other least by their Vastly Superior Numbers we should
    be crushed by one or the other.’ . . . In 1758, James Glen,
    long governor of South Carolina, explained . . . that ‘it has
    allways been the policy of this govert to creat an aversion
    in them [Indians] to Negroes’ (Willis 1963, 165).

    Of course, the two forms of divide and conquer tactics could be used in combination. In 1777, the British Governor of St. Vincent wrote to his superiors that “by dint of address, by properly working on their different passions, and by some treats [i.e. presents], I have happily effected a breach of [a threatened] Alliance between the runaway negroes and . . . the Charibs [an indigenous people].” (Fisher 1945, 437). By warning the Charibs that the “runaway negroes,” who seem to have been a band of escaped slaves, would plunder their settlements, the Governor “laid the grounds of that Jealousie, and distrust, which I wanted to avail myself of.” (Fisher 1945, 437). The Governor’s strategy, that is, had two prongs: bribery of the Charib chiefs, and inducing distrust between the two groups.

    In cases of this sort, the relationship between the subjugated groups may be interpreted in three ways. In the simplest version, the groups had Prisoners’ Dilemma payoffs; Resistance to the British was equivalent to staying quiet, while not resisting was like confessing; the first choice of each group was to gain the benefits of the other’s resistance to the British while refusing itself to contribute to the joint cause. As indicated in Section II, even where such games are repeated, a unitary actor who can affect payoffs – here the Governor – may be able to block cooperation by means of discriminatory offers, making defection a dominant strategy for both groups.

    In a second version, it was a Stag Hunt game under complete information, in which it was common knowledge among both groups that the other’s first choice was to cooperate against the British. However, lack of cooperation is also an equilibrium in such games; the Governor’s discriminatory bribes to the Charibs, the apparent inability of the Charibs to communicate with the runaways, and the focal-point effect of the Governor’s announcement to the Charibs that the runaways would not cooperate, all conduced to selecting the equilibrium of noncooperation. After the Governor bribed the Charib chiefs, the “negroes” attempted “acts of violence . . . against the women of the nearest Charib settlement, and [attempted] to cut off the Chief of the same for having been with me and received presents as they said.” (Fisher 1945, 438). The implication is that the “negroes” viewed the Chief’s receipt of presents as a defecting rather than cooperative move.

    In yet a third interpretation, it was a Stag Hunt game under incomplete information, in which each group’s true preference would be to cooperate with the other, but in which each group is uncertain of the others’ preferences. In such cases, cooperation can be forestalled by the Governor’s strategy of sowing “Jealousie, and distrust” — inducing one or both players to believe that the other player has Prisoners’ Dilemma preferences instead of Stag Hunt preferences for conditional cooperation, or a disposition to exploit rather than to reciprocate. This version of the Stag Hunt game, however, requires that the third party’s statements be credible. Here the evidence does not explain why, exactly, the Charibs would take the Governor’s warnings seriously.

    While the divide and conquer strategies pursued by imperial and colonial powers are often successful in the short run, they can be self-defeating in the long run. The presence of the dominant power, and the very fact that it is known to use divide and conquer tactics, both tend to create emotions of solidarity among indigenous groups, unifying the opposition. In eighteenth century India, “there was no political discourse . . . to construe resistance to the foreigners as a national war for the defence of the country.” However, the British use of divide and conquer tactics themselves provoked the first stirrings of Indian unity. In 1780, “the Poona minister Nana Fadnis … wrote to his old antagonist Haidar Ali of Mysore [in the following terms]:

    Divide and grab is their [i.e. the British] main principle . . .
    They are bent upon subjugating the States of Poona, Nagpur,
    Mysore and Haidarabad one by one, enlisting the sympathy
    of one to put down the other. They know best how to destroy
    Indian cohesion (Louis et al. 1998, 519).

    The result was a joint plan “for the expulsion of the English nation from India” (Louis et al 1998, 519). Although the plan did not ultimately succeed, such efforts laid the groundwork for Indian nationalism.”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

  44. perspectivehere
    August 11th, 2012 at 01:17 | #44

    Further to my comment #43 above :

    The comment above is not meant to inspire hatred to the British; indeed in Hong Kong, the British were probably nicer to the natives in Hong Kong than they were to natives in other parts of the British colonial empire. Many individual British civil servants and others served with distinction, and in some cases, heroism, and helped many Chinese in Hong Kong. Many individual British and Chinese formed lifelong friendships and intermarriages, in Hong Kong and in China. This is entirely normal. I would posit though that the British colonial rulers were “nicer” in Hong Kong than to natives elsewhere in the British empire (consider the atrocities in Kenya) precisely because of the much bigger prize over the border, and it was strategic to do so. I.e., the presence of China’s potential wealth to the British made it imperative to treat Hong Kong people with kid gloves.

    Hong Kong’s government also enjoyed the benefits of being connected with the global British colonial / commonwealth propaganda program, so this guaranteed good press for Hong Kong around the world, particularly the so-called “laissez faire rule” of Hong Kong’s colonial government. However, now that Hong Kong has reverted to China, Hong Kong’s government does not get the benefit of that global PR support; instead, what had been trumpeted as the “genius” of British laissez faire rule is now being characterized in local and Western media as “Hong Kong government neglect”.

    Same government behavior and policies, different press angle!

  45. citizen
    August 11th, 2012 at 07:41 | #45

    @ray

    You said I ‘simply try to push an anti-China agenda’. Once again, I ask you to show me a single anti-China comment I have made here. It’s a reasonable request.

    Back on the Star Ferry, I really have no idea where you get your information, but it’s not from a HK source. You said twice that it was too small and old to cope with a growing population, and had to be enlarged and modernised. Huh? It was moved because of reclamation, and the new one was no bigger, in fact it the //Star Ferry company were very upset because fewer, not more people would use the new one

    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=11&art_id=18632&sid=7939787&con_type=1&d_str=20060513&sear_year=2006

    Everyone in HK knows this. Why don’t you?

    @Zack

    You said there is ‘plenty of evidence to show that the so-called HK Independence movement is artificial and funded by foreign governments’. Can you please show us some of this evidence?

  46. August 11th, 2012 at 10:40 | #46

    @citizen
    Wow, an article from 2006 from an English daily in HK is your source? So are you saying that the government is wrong in replacing the pier and the airport too? Come on, get a grip. The new pier is more modern, bigger and can handle more passengers, that’s a fact. Simply say whether it make sense to hunger strike over the the demilotion of the pier?

    My point is that it doesn’t make sense to hunger strike over the pier. What’s your point? The demolition of many buildings during the mid 2000s are all wrong?

    “Everyone in HK knows this. Why don’t you?”

    So everybody in HK thinks the same now? That’s why I have issues with your reasoning, it is too simplistic and idiotic. It is like your stupid accusation that says HK people is more distant from the mainland than 1997. The interaction and intergration have gone up many fold but you just refused to see it.

    HK is part of China even when it is under British rule, that is the argument the PRC used when it took it back. It was taken under duress and force. When you pulled out the HK independence bs, it is clear your agenda is anti-China. If I parade around a picture of Osama what would that says?

    “Star Ferry company were very upset because fewer, not more people would use the new one.”

    WTF? You might as well say that Ocen Park is very upset for allowing Disney to be there.

    Here’s another hunger protest for Queens Pier:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Pier

    Does this make sense?

    Going back to topics. I have said it clearly in my post that it is something out of nothing in regards to the curriculum protest, much like the pier protest. A total waste of time and the opposition politicians are simply milking it for election gain. And the post clearly showed the hypocracy when protesters used children for political mileage.

    New curriculum is introduced in education system all the time. This new curriculum will be introduced. For example, if they are truly concerned they should discuss what content to be included, not using children and using phrase such as “brain washing”.

    HK politics is almost like US where the opposition will protest anything to make a gain. It is costing HK dearly.

  47. August 11th, 2012 at 10:59 | #47

    @citizen
    The new one is much nicer and bigger. Take a look:
    http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%AD%E7%92%B0%E7%A2%BC%E9%A0%AD

    Same for the airport. The argument is actually pretty simple:

    Don’t move: No new roads, old pier.

    Move: New roads, new and bigger pier.

    The only valid reason for the protest is actually for sentimental reason only. Ocen Park’s replica serve as a remembrance.

    However, as can be seen from the Queen’s pier hunger strike. It doesn’t make sense at all. It serve no utility or memorial purpose, but people actually go on protest for the sake of protest.

  48. August 11th, 2012 at 17:28 | #48

    This video talk about poverty, economy and housing problem in HK. (1.3 million HK residents live in poverty!)Anybody, really interested in HK should watch it. It is mostly in Mandarin and Cantonese but with traditional Chinese subtitles.

    http://big5.ifeng.com/gate/big5/phtv.ifeng.com/program/cjzqf/

  49. wwww1234
    August 11th, 2012 at 23:54 | #49

    @citizen

    #16 was not referring to yinyang, his analogy was fine.

    It was your “imagination” (#12) I was referring to as being fraud:

    “Imagine if California was populated by people (or the children of people) who had fled from the rest of US. Imagine if California thrived while the US had been involved in titanic upheavals , while the border between the two zones was pretty much closed for 30 years.

    Imagine if California, though becoming again a part of the US chose its own leader, had its own currency, its own central bank, its own government, its own way of speaking and writing, a distinctive musical and film culture, plus (very importantly) a completely separate and distinct legal system, along with a media by any measure much freer than that of the the rest of the US.

    Imagine if all those different political, legal, economic systems were enshrined in a special constitution, just for California.

    Imagine if California had over generations developed strong links with other countries that didn’t exist in the rest of the US. Imagine if many people had foreign passports, were educated overseas or had travelled and had family links around the world that weren’t there in the rest of the US.

    Imagine if California, before splitting from the rest of US, had been hardly populated at all, and had developed while apart from the US into a major economic force, and by some measures one of the richest places in the world.”

  50. Charles Liu
    August 13th, 2012 at 13:56 | #50

    @wwww1234

    You mean before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?

  51. September 5th, 2012 at 10:15 | #51

    @saulogma
    People like Citizen are not even from HK but pretend to be. In my opinion, you can’t understand a country or culture if you don’t make any friends. It says a lot about a person who doesn’t have friends but believe he is expert and know what is best.

    Does this kind of attitude sounds familiar.

  52. Zack
    September 5th, 2012 at 12:52 | #52

    saulogma :
    In fact there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the so called ‘HK Independence movement’ is artificial and funded by foreign governments-and in any case, given HK’s merging with Shenzhen and perhaps Guangzhou in the future, this whole HK democraship BS is moot.
    ppl like Citizen who may or may not be a Hong Konger are the kind of people like Minxin Pei/willy lam /gordon chang who hope that if they’re critical of China enough, that they’ll finally be accepted into anglo white society, that if they distance themselves away from their cultural and national heritage, they may find acceptance with the predominantly white western nations.

    This was my exact same post, a few weeks back; guys, my BS radar is going crazy over this Saulogma character

  53. September 5th, 2012 at 15:52 | #53

    @Zack
    You are right he is a spammer. I have deleted his post. Consider my respond to you.

  54. Zack
    September 6th, 2012 at 03:27 | #54

    @Ray
    thanks, Ray.

    In answer to your post, ppl like Citizen are, i suspect, not really Ethnic Chinese HKers but could most likely be an expat worker who bemoan the days when HK was ‘the jewel in the British Crown’;

    i have my own theory that the reason why the anglocentric west is so fearful over China’s ascencion is more because of guilt over the crimes their nation committed from the opium wars/colonial eras, and are fearful for the impending sword of justice that could swing their way should the Chinese ever become motivated enough. At the moment, most of the Chinese zeitgeist tends to be focused on Japanese unrepentant behaviour such as downplaying japanese atrocities during the war, but should that change, the West, specifically half of europe and even the US knows there’s going to be hell to pay, so like the medieval scoundrel hoping to escape justice by seeking favour with a powerful all, you’l see the rest of the former colonial powers hitching their boats to the strongest western superpower, so as to preserve some semblance of caucasian primacy. THat’s the reason i don’t believe Russia is sincere in wanting to be genuine friends with China, because at their very core, most Russians (not all fortunately)identify themselves more with the West than they do with China.

  55. JoyceLau
    September 6th, 2012 at 09:17 | #55

    yinyang — I have to apologize that I didn’t see this post, and with my name right on top! It must have come out when I was on vacation. And thanks for saying that you could imagine us as friends — I could, too. We’ll make do as Twitter friends for now…

    I only mention the British once in this story – to note that it was a former colony, and that another recent protest was held on the handover anniversary. Otherwise, Britain has nothing to do with this issue. They left 15 years ago, and nobody talks about them anymore, especially not the young.

    That afternoon, I spoke to many more people than could ever fit into one article, both demonstrators and average “guys on the street” like construction workers and cabbies. Nobody mentioned the British. Most said they had no problem with their kids taking Chinese government, language, history, etc., classes — which, by the way, are already taught in Hong Kong.

    But none liked this particular curriculum on recent Chinese history and politics, and how it was handled: How millions were paid to a suspicious mainland-linked group, how teachers and parents were not given a say, how major events seemed to be missing, how shoddy the quality was, and how many people’s first reaction was that it was “brainwashing.”

    Since my article, the protests have continued, and students, parents and teachers have gone on hunger strike.

    Someone made an interesting comment that the handling of this issue might have had the opposite effect: It made normally placid Hong Kong kids into stident demonstrators. The more inflexible the government is, the more it will push demonstrators to greater actions, which is not something anyone wants to see.

    If such a wide range of people — kids to the elderly, poor to the rich, business people and educators — repeatedly go out in mass rallies to say the same thing, why can’t the government be flexible about letting residents decide how local schools are run? Mostly the hubbub is over one (rather expensive) booklet — why are they so iron-clad that it has to be rolled out right away with no discussion?

    As for perspective from the China side. Some of the protesters were from the mainland originally (though none of them wanted to be quoted by name, for fear or retribution — and fair enough). Not surprisingly, news of these protests were tamped down on the mainland. And it’s not like Chinese officials have been speaking on the record much about them, good or bad. There was a quote from the China Civic Education Promotion Association of Hong Kong, but his opinion was really in the minority.

    Many Hong Kongers do feel closer to China. Olympics athletes and astronauts visit the city. More Hong Kongers, like myself, mix with greater numbers of immigrants in our neighborhoods. More people cross the border for work, school and travel. But this curriculum push moved things in the opposite direction.

  56. September 6th, 2012 at 17:16 | #56

    @JoyceLau
    I don’t know if you have first hand knowledge of this issue. But the teaching material in the curriculum is strictly to be decided by the respective school stream in HK. There are no official textbook, no required test etc.

    Basically, a new subject will be introduced, that is the National Civic Education. What is taught or not taught is up to the school board of HK and is supposed to be discussed. However, there are some that simply shot it down as “brain washing”.

    You are right in that some has been using it as a “we vs mainland” issue to drum up support for the coming election. Basically, in the election lingo, the ccurriculum issue has been presented as either the citizens support “being brain washed” or “not being brain washed”.

    You observation of many HKers feeling pride with China’s achievenment in space and Olympics is right on. Why is there some parties that always want to implement confrontation instead of co-operation and discussion? The ones who are truly “brain washed” and don’t want discussion are those that are protesting and going on hunger strike.

    The situation has become so serious that LCK has to skip the APEC meeting to attend to this storm in the teacup.

  57. September 6th, 2012 at 17:49 | #57

    @Zack
    What you said could be apply to some individuals but not all. Frankly, there is no simple explanation or a single theory. All states want to maintain their hedgemotic position. The European ones fought so hard among themseleves that it sparked WWI and WWII. The Chinese states used to do the same from Spring Autumn and whenever central authrity break down.

    IMO, the new China is simply a new challenger to all established powers.

  58. JoyceLau
    September 6th, 2012 at 19:49 | #58

    Hi Ray, When I reported this in July, a government official said it was mandatory. There’s been mixed messages since then, as the government flops around in face of the protests, but it’s definite that it must be taught in all public schools. Schools were supposed to start teaching it Sept 1.

    Some officials have said that schools can decide HOW to teach it, but it hasn’t backed down yet that it MUST be taught.

    International private schools are exempt, which drew even more ire. It was felt that rich parents — particularly expats, wealthy overseas HKers and mainland officials and tycoons sending their kids over the border — could “opt out” while working and middle-class local kids were stuck with it.

    It’s always fuzzy what HK decides and what Beijing decides. Technically, this is a local HK decision, and the anger is mostly at the HK government. But it’s clear that the sudden implementation of patriotic education is a push from Beijing. Even its defenders in HK don’t have much good to say — mostly defensive replies like “It’s not really brainwashing”. Patriotic education is not popular among students or educators on the mainland either, but they have less choice there.

    Whether the HK government really has the right to make an independent decision is unclear.

    Re: astronauts / Olympians / pop starts, etc. There’s positive and negative coverage of China, which is normal. It’s a huge complex country. Kids can admire Chinese athletes, but they can also legitimately criticize government decisions. These kids are pretty independent thinkers. There’s been Chinese education in schools since 1997, but this is the first time they (and their parents and teachers) have protested a particular piece of curriculum — which is missing important events, contradictory and just not very good.

    The fact that tens of thousands of people repeatedly hit the streets says something. No decent government would ignore such a huge public statement. While it’s unfortunate that Leung is missing that meeting, I think he’s doing the responsible thing by handling a local crisis first.

    I don’t like seeing extreme actions like kids being sent to the hospital after hunger striking. I do admire that they care so much about their education.

  59. Sigmar
    September 6th, 2012 at 20:33 | #59

    No offence, but how do we know you’re really Joyce Lau?

  60. JoyceLau
    September 7th, 2012 at 04:27 | #60

    Ray — Just to clarify. It was rolled out Sept 1. It won’t be mandatory in all schools till 2015. This is the latest I’ve heard.

  61. September 7th, 2012 at 07:45 | #61

    @Sigmar
    I think yinyang should be able to confirm that. Her email address seems legitimate to me.

  62. September 7th, 2012 at 07:46 | #62

    @JoyceLau
    Most average HK kids have no idea of how HK is taken by the British and don’t know the background of the return in 1997. On top of that, modern Chinese history, like the civil war, founding of the PRC, events such as GLF, CR are also very hazy in most HK textbooks. Seriously, don’t you think a subject like this is needed? Let’s face it, HK has a unique history and today’s HK’s resident also have a unique position in China. A curriculum that includes a chapter that explain the coming about and the role HK should play is a necessity.

    The international schools in HK cater mainly to the expats and mainly taught UK or US syllabus. The HK government never has any say in what they teach. This is a mute point. Those schools never even bothered teaching Chinese history or language. Why has it been presented as how the super rich in HK who sent their children there getting away? It is obviously used as a point to ire the uninformed masses.

    “It’s always fuzzy what HK decides and what Beijing decides. Technically, this is a local HK decision, and the anger is mostly at the HK government. But it’s clear that the sudden implementation of patriotic education is a push from Beijing. Even its defenders in HK don’t have much good to say — mostly defensive replies like “It’s not really brainwashing”. Patriotic education is not popular among students or educators on the mainland either, but they have less choice there.”

    I have clearly outlined why the reason this curriculum was suggested. Most educators realized that after the 1997, the relationship between HK and mainland has changed. HK is no longer a British colony and most students don’t really understand the history and modern context of this special relationship. Why is HK an SAR? What is the relationship of Taiwan? Does the Diaoyu Islands have anything to do with HK? Basically, it clears up lots of things. And like the name of the curriculum suggested the rest of the subject is supposed to cover civic education.

    The problem is, whatever has been done is portrayed as Beijing forcing something down the throat of HK, which is not true at all. You are also correct in saying that the anger is directed mostly at the HK government itself. For example, the demolition of Star Ferry and Queen’s piers provoked opposition and hunger strike. Are those sensible move? Let’s analyze how this discontent comes about. The structure of the HK government is the legacy of British colonial government. Basically, it was inherited from the British, almost nothing has changed except the name of the governor to chief executive. The promotion are pretty much merit based, unlike before the 1990s when all top positions are British.

    Under British rule, Kai Teck airport was to make way for the new airport. The construction of the new airport was given to a British firm without any bidding process and would used up a large portion of HK reserve. Under the British a bunch of demolitions of historical sites were also made. On top of it, just before the British leave, they greatly raised the pension of the top civil servants which are nearly 9/10 British. Strangely, all this matter did not generate any form of opposition or protest? Don’t you find it strange? That’s why there are people on these board that suggest it is colonized mentality.

    My take is that the HK Government used to be set up to simply run with no feedback from the general populace. The funny thing is when the British which actually did a lot of things detrimental to HK’s development, the only protest in HK seems to be about 6.4 only. Frankly, I believe things should changed and that’s why election which gives more feedback is being introduced. However, it has been hijacked by some party into a US style “Republican vs Democrat system”. In that whatever the HK government proposes was opposed by the Democrat and used it as a platform in election with the truth being buried.

    As you have clearly found out yourself, the teaching context is to be decided by the different local school streams in HK. So basically, it is the local schools board that decided to teach whatever they want. If the school decided to teach how students should respect elders, take care of the young, don’t throw rubbish, be courteous etc, so be it. In many ways, civic education is simply to ingrained a certain quality in students. Isn’t this a form of “brain washing” too? The problem is, the democrat politicians used it as a “we vs them”, “good vs evil” platform.

    Ask yourself, all those efforts spent by the protestors and the subsequent damage control taken by the government side, how have they contributed to the education system in HK? From the start, instead of labelling the teaching of the curriculum as “brain washing”, the sensible thing is always to ask if there is a need for it. And if there is a need for it, what content should be put into the teaching and how it would benefit the students and HK as a whole.

    But as we have all seen, it has degenerate into a shouting match of “brain washing” or “not brain washing”.

  63. Sigmar
    September 7th, 2012 at 08:38 | #63

    @Ray
    Good to know. If it’s alright for the mods, it’s alright for me.

  64. September 9th, 2012 at 21:14 | #64
  65. citizen
    September 9th, 2012 at 22:14 | #65

    @Ray

    Er no, the results of the super seats not in yet.

    And as before, the voting is about 3:2 in favour of the pro-democratic parties. That makes them the majority doesn’t it?

    I was proud to cast my votes yesterday – how did you get on?

  66. September 10th, 2012 at 12:02 | #66

    @citizen
    You are a joke, the pro-establishment 民建联 (from 10 seats to 12 seats) has the best showing ever and 民主党 (8 to 4). Have you been hiding under a rock?

    Even Joyce Lau admitted that most HK residents feel closer to mainland China. If you can’t even see that how can anybody here trust your observation?

    In the overall result, the pro-establishment parties won 43 out of 70 seats.

    http://www.takungpao.com/hkol/content/2012-09/10/content_1078056.htm

  67. citizen
    September 10th, 2012 at 16:55 | #67

    @Ray

    Unusual perspective…

    So who did you vote for?

  68. September 10th, 2012 at 17:30 | #68

    @citizen
    Come back when you can speak Cantonese.

  69. citizen
    September 10th, 2012 at 20:25 | #69

    @Ray

    Uh huh. I thought this was an English website. You are welcome to guess all you like about my ethnicity and the languages I speak, but isn’t that rather beside the point?

    You seem upset. Why not just say who you voted for?

  70. September 11th, 2012 at 10:42 | #70

    @citizen
    Eaxctly, isn’t that besides the point.

    Come back when you have something meaningful to add, other wise you are just trolling.

  71. aeiou
    September 12th, 2012 at 07:39 | #71

    I found this article rather illuminating, since it’s very difficult to get any kind of balanced analysis from western sources.

    http://atimes.com/atimes/China/NI12Ad01.html

    Supposedly organized by students themselves, the conduct, logistics and control of the campaign bore the hallmarks of the pro-democracy camp’s core organization, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union. The PTU has been at the core of the party from its inception.

    Retired trade unionist Wong Wai-hung, who was the key campaigner for Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, dismisses all talk about divisions within the pro-democracy camp as “a load of rubbish”?

    Notice the common theme? Liberal unions. See (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Exclusion_Act and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Australia_policy).

    While liberals do everything they can to cast themselves as progressive for democracy and human rights, they are just as “illiberal” if not more so than the proponents they so often castigate on the right. Liberals have a monopoly on today’s geopolitical narrative – if they could they would doublethink their way into starting a Chinese civil war because it’s “what the people want”.

    Never forget that the many old ideas that modern liberals hold in contempt were once upon a time championed as “progressive” in their own institutions. (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_in_the_United_States or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madison_Grant).

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