The song Glory to Hong Kong, which was collectively created nearly a month ago by users of Hong Kong’s LIHKG online forum, did not receive much attention at first. Then, following an Aug. 31 clash between police and protesters at the Mass Transit Railway’s Prince Edward Station, some Internet users proposed that the song could be Hong Kong’s “national anthem.”
On Monday last week, a large number of people congregated in the Citiplaza shopping mall in Taikoo Shing on Hong Kong Island to sing the song in unison.
In its original form, Karl Marx’s theory of class struggle drew a line between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, but under communist regimes it has taken the form of identifying “enemies of the people,” overthrowing them, then finding another group of “enemies of the people” and so on, generating an endless struggle in which society gets split into many small groups that become alienated from one another or even hate each other, making it easier to rule over them.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been using a similar method to deal with the ongoing anti-extradition movement in Hong Kong.
Clearly, none of the movement’s five key demands have anything to do with advocating independence for Hong Kong, but the CCP still portrays the most radical group of Hong Kongers who form the front line in street battles — the so-called “fighters” — as Hong Kong independence supporters.
In so doing, the CCP is using nationalism, which is the easiest way to stir up emotions, to launch an all-out struggle in the realm of public opinion. It aims to force the “peaceful, rational and nonviolent” segment of Hong Kongers to draw a line between themselves and the “fighters,” so that the “fighters” lose their support base, making it easier for authorities to “end the violence and restore order.”
However, the movement has the support of too many Hong Kongers for this to work.
The CCP has launched a widespread propaganda campaign against Hong Kong independence, along with threats of armed intervention, while collectively labeling the anti-extradition protesters as “Hong Kong independence supporters.”
In the process, the various kinds of one-sided comments that are being bandied around in China go beyond cursing the “rioting decadent youth” to include hatred for almost everyone in Hong Kong.
The people who make such comments do not view Hong Kongers as compatriots. They want the territory, but not its people.
Consequently, many Hong Kongers have come to a new realization and they are saying: “So you do not view us as compatriots after all. That means that we are two different communities.”
Following the police’s indiscriminate “riot control” operation against members of the public at the metro station, the rousing melody of Glory to Hong Kong, along with accompanying music videos showing scenes from the movement, have evoked Hong Kongers’ memories of their shared suffering.
The song has begun to spread and even be accepted by some people as the territory’s “national anthem.”
Shared suffering is one of the most important conditions for forming an “imagined community.” Thus, people have started talking about a “Hong Kong nation.”
When more people come to identify with this “Hong Kong nation,” the next step will be toward real Hong Kong independence.
Yan Shih-hsiung is a doctoral student at National Dong Hwa University.
Translated by Julian Clegg
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