Recently, almost any small incident has been able to set off a demonstration in Hong Kong, while larger issues could cause a large-scale standoff.
The ease with which a demonstration can collect 100,000 people strikes fear into Beijing, because it thinks these mass protests may cross into China. Suspicion and fear between Hong Kong and China is on the increase, and with the timetable for the territory’s general elections to be set soon, the question of whether Beijing will allow universal elections has become a very thorny issue. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) is sandwiched by all this and public support for him is dropping fast.
Ever since its introduction, the “one country, two systems” model has intensified contradictions between China and Hong Kong, including many issues that Taiwanese should give serious consideration. Look at Hong Kong — whether it be the differences with China in terms of political system, values, lifestyle and the degree of democratization, it would seem inevitable that conflicts between Hong Kongers and other Chinese will escalate as they continue to integrate.
The next issue to pay attention to is how to find solutions as disputes intensify. As the contradictions between Hong Kong and China become more extreme and the growing Hong Kong identity clashes with Beijing’s increasing nationalism, the two sides are akin to two trains rushing headlong toward each other. At some point there is bound to be a crash.
Taiwanese should view Hong Kong as a mirror reflecting the gloomy state of affairs that may occur if Taiwan is taken over by China. Taiwanese need to change their apathetic attitude toward Hong Kong and start paying close attention to what is going on there.
Ping Lu is an author and former director of Taiwan’s Kwang Hwa Information and Culture Center in Hong Kong.
Translated by Drew Cameron