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HK reports reflect West's preconceptions(2)

2014-10-13 09:28 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan

While they have been careful to claim that the protests are a people standing up for their democratic rights not standing up against the central government - "honest, we wouldn't dream of interfering in the affairs of another country" and they certainly don't want to get in the way of big business - it is clear from their reports and their portrayal of the protests as a so-called umbrella revolution that they were hoping for, and in some cases trying to precipitate, a confrontation with the central government. Framing the protests within an Orwellian narrative that satisfies and encourages the prejudices of their audiences.

They were helped in this by the desire on the part of some students to be perceived as agents of history. Although it is hard to escape the conclusion that in calling for a chief executive given the seal of approval by themselves - in effect becoming the sort of nominating committee to which they say they are opposed - the only criterion they seem to deem necessary is a willingness to maintain a distance from Beijing. In effect someone who will manifest their above and apart identity in Hong Kong's dealings with the central government.

By seeking to hijack the legal election procedure in this way, the protestors are trying to force the rest of the country, and the world, to see them as they see themselves. But to those without an agenda served by the protests, they seem more like spoilt kids having a hissy fit in a playroom because they didn't get the toy they wanted.

Instead of directing their anger at a political framework that actually grants the special administrative region a great deal of autonomy, the students would do better to try and broaden the membership of the nominating committee so that it genuinely reflects the whole of Hong Kong society, rather than, as they see it, those with vested interests who want to see business as usual whatever the cost - so long as they are not the ones who have to pay it.

The "One country, Two Systems" policy that Deng Xiaoping came up with to ensure a smooth handover of power from the colonial administration to the SAR's, has had the unintended effect of reinforcing both Hong Kong's shared identity and its sense of a separate identity. Emphasizing that Hongkongers should love the country they are part of, as well as take pride the city they live in, heals this split personality in a holistic identity that consigns the divisive sense of superiority that is a vestige of colonial days to the past where it belongs.

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