Fri, Jul 05, 2019 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Hong Kongers, not Chinese

Hong Kong is mainlandizing. My city is increasingly politically influenced by, and economically dependent on, the mainland. From the disappearance of book publishers to the proposed Hong Kong extradition bill, I once believed Hong Kong would be doomed to lose its autonomy completely.

Yet, I was wrong. In the most recent month, especially after witnessing a record “2 million” people march for civil rights, I have learnt that our city should not, and will not, stop at defense to defer or prevent Beijing’s political, social and legal intervention in local affairs.

Endeavors, and willingness, to collectively defend our civil liberties prompt the reinforcement of a unique identity — an identity that is exclusively owned by Hong Kong citizens — known as Hong Kongers. Proudly speaking, resisting the erosion of our civil liberties sets our city apart from the mainland.

These weeks, in response to social movements against the extradition bill, newspapers worldwide have divorced the term “Hong Kongers” from “Chinese” or “China.” These newspapers include US News in the US, the Guardian in the UK, the Vancouver Sun in Canada, the Economic Times in India and the Bangkok Post in Thailand.

These publications have lauded Hong Kongers’ defiant fight for civil rights and identity, while denouncing the Beijing and Hong Kong governments’ disrespect for the “one country, two systems” principles.

Despite the city mainlandizing, our organized, peaceful and desperate demonstrations against the extradition bill have strengthened our sense of belonging to Hong Kong, but not the mainland.

A University of Hong Kong survey released on Thursday last week showed that the percentage of local citizens identifying as Chinese fell to a record low since the handover in 1997.

In contrast, the percentage of local citizens identifying as Hong Kongers hit a record high from 1997 onward.

Yes, a vast majority of the Hong Kong population are Han Chinese. However, when Beijing speeds up the interference in local affairs, Hong Kongers must stay united and rant: “This is Hong Kong, not China! At least not yet!”

Jason Hung

Bangkok, Thailand

IHME and its mysterious data

On Monday last week, The Lancet, the leading medical journal, published an article titled “Mortality, Morbidity, and Risk Factors in China and Its Provinces, 1990–2017: a Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017.”

The study, led by coauthors from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) presented a lot of epidemic data, highlighting the public health efforts made by the Chinese government.

Healthcare data from Taiwan, listed as one of the Chinese provinces, were also presented in the study.

Taiwan has never been governed by the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has made its stride in public health as Taiwanese healthcare workers and academics over the years have dedicated themselves in this area.

One example is the area of alcoholism. Taiwan became the leading country in the study of alcoholism, as many of the Taiwanese studies have been published in international peer-reviewed journals.

For the past 70 years, Taiwan has established its own healthcare governance, medical care network and international scholarship, with no participation from the Chinese government.

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