Given Hong Kong’s close geographic relationship to China and its dependence on the Chinese economy, it is worth noting how Hong Kong residents are identifying less and less as “Chinese” and are instead viewing themselves as Hong Kongers.
I am sure Taiwanese could relate when Hong Kongers recently raised the British colonial flag during a protest, because there has been debate and conflict in Taiwan over the issue of how Taiwanese view Chinese.
This is also the main reason why Beijing is hoping to use cross-strait cultural exchanges and the signing of a cross-strait agreement on cultural exchanges to dispel chaos and restore peace. However, the special feelings that Taiwanese harbor toward the Japanese colonial era and their friendly attitude toward Japan are hard for China to accept.
Since its implementation, the “one country, two systems” framework has not increased Hong Kongers’ trust in Beijing, but instead decreased it and caused Hong Kongers to put their guard up. If this is how things are in Hong Kong, Beijing has no reason to expect that Taiwanese will suddenly trust China just because Beijing offers Taiwan a few economic concessions.
It is safe to say that Taiwan’s preoccupation with self-protection will continue to exist for a long time to come.
Fan Shih-ping is a professor in the Graduate Institute of Political Science at National Taiwan Normal University.
Translated by Drew Cameron