17th September 2013
Prof Hung Ho-fung: Anti-Sinicisation and International Cognition of Citizenship
Environmental concern activist Roy Tam Hoi-bong, lawmakers Claudia Mo Man-ching and Gary Fan Kwok-wai, together with a group of social activists published an advertisement in Hong and Taiwan newspapers to urge for CY Leung’s resignation. The advertisement did not only criticise the Hong Kong SAR government for introducing substantial amount of Chinese tourists (via individual travel scheme) and “Blinded Land Grap” which affected the livelihood of Hong Kong; it also raised concern about the fact that Hong Kong has no control over the 150 Chinese new immigrants quota and has no right to approve these immigration applications, which led to over population and severe burden to infrastructure and public resources. The advertisement propose to take back the rights to approval immigration applications and reduce the number of new immigrants.
The requests in the advertisement are fair and reasonable, and triggered a lot of response in Taiwan. Even the editorial commentary in United Daily News, a pro-Greater China Unification newspaper, said that the strong resentment the people of Hong Kong have toward Sinicisation is “understandable and deserve sympathy”. The fact that the advertisement published in Taiwan exposed China’s master plan of colonising Hong Kong via influx of immigrants from China in order to enforce its control over Hong Kong (such tactic has been used in Xijian and Tibet for many years), has triggered the nerve of China and Wen Wei Po in Hong Kong and Global Times in China (both mouthpieces of China) to launch massive criticism.
Those who joint this petition includes those who support City-State Autonomy Movements (a theory by scholar Horace Chin Wan) and activists who favour “international values (instead of localism)” and even anti-City-State Autonomy (nickname “Left Plastics”). This advertisement could be the milestone marking Hong Kong’s social movement moving towards localism.
Lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung who originally supported the campaign publicly, later on withdrew from the campaign saying that the petition discriminates against Chinese immigrants. A bunch of activities who did not join the campaign soon began to criticise the advertisement is discriminating. At least two of those who signed the campaign also “apologised” claiming that they did not read the petition clearly before signing. The stance “anti-sinicisation advertisement discriminates new immigrants from China” was also praised by Tai Kung Pao (one of the most pro-China and Peking newspaper in Hong Kong).
The advertisement, in fact, only mentions the numbers of immigrants and Chinese tourists coming to Hong Kong via individual travel scheme, and Hong Kong’s ability to sustain. If this is discrimination, there should be no room to discuss immigration policies and population policies! There should be no maximum capacity in buses and lifts! If you look your door up is also discriminating the homeless on the street! The advertisement proposed to reduce the number of new immigrants but did not target the new immigrants in Hong Kong. Reducing the number of future new immigrants is in fact beneficial to the the new immigrants who have recently moved to Hong Kong. Those who will suffer from the reduction of future new immigrants, are the organisations only provide supports to new immigrants and receive public funding in proportion of the number of new immigrants.
In the US, because of issues related to Latin American immigrants, there are huge debates focusing on immigration policies in recent years. However, the focus of these debates was not on whether the US should continue to attract Latin American labour force in the future in large scale, but on the quantity of Latin American immigrants. Both the left and the right wings have already achieved some sort of consensus, which is to boarder defense between America and Mexico, in order to seal the major channel where Latin Americans enter the US.
In June 2013, the US Senate has passed the bill of reform on immigration policies which was proposed by the Democrats and the left wings. The reform covers two major areas (1) provide a channel for both legal and illegal immigrants in the US to obtain their permanent residency and citizenship; (2) tighten the boarder control in South of US to stop the influx of new immigrants. This reform does not only improve the situation of new immigrants who are already living in the US, but also prevent the surge of future new immigrants. It gained support from new immigrants organisations, the progressive and some Republicans. The bill is waiting to be debated about at the House of Representatives. The Democrats and the left wings in the US are working on preventing the bill to be voted down by the Republicans and right wings. However, based on the absurd theory of the pseudo left wing activities in Hong Kong, “reducing the number of future new immigrants equals to discriminating the existing new immigrants reside in Hong Kong”, this reform which is seen as open and tolerant in America, is likely to be labelled as discrimination.
To many pseudo left wing activities in Hong Kong, the meaning of being politically correct is a complete different fish compared to the international standard. Most of the left wings and libertarians in the world rarely criticise the basic presumption of the citizenship of their respective countries. However, the pseudo left wing activities in Hong Kong are mostly one way or the other criticise or doubt the legitimacy of Hong Kong citizenship.
These pseudo left wing activities in Hong Kong believe that suggesting Hong Kong has limited capacity (to accommodate unlimited number of new immigrants) whereby there is a need to reduce the number of future new immigrants is “discrimination”. Some of these activities from social welfare organisations also believe that the law require all new immigrants have to reside in Hong Kong for seven years before they’re eligible to apply for social welfare and public housing is also a kind of discrimination. Many of these pseudo left wing activists often claim that they “support universal suffrage but we must prevent the interference of foreign power”, “support universal suffrage but the key is to ensure someone patriotic” – something very China Communist style. They also apply the same logic on immigration policies, “we support the notion that Hong Kong should take back the right to approve One-Way Permit (OWP) applications, but we must prevent Hong Kongers from discriminating Chinese”, “we support the notion that Hong Kong should take back the right to approve One-Way Permit applications, but the key is what criteria are used on the approval process” – as if China holds the right to approve OWP means each application is handled in a fair manner with no discrimination. Their “arguments” make people wonder if they really support Hong Kong to take back the approval right, or they actually worry or resent that Hong Kong will take it back.
Citizenship originated from city-state in The Medievial Times and modern nation-states, by nature it contains an identity that distinguish insider and outsider. This is also a universally adaptable understanding of citizenship. The identity separation between Hong Kong citizenships and China citizenship is a foundation of one-country-two-system and high degree of autonomy.
We often see that people in our society avoid defining and defending Hong Kong citizenship, a relatively reasonable explanation is that deep down they doubt the rationality behind differentiating Hong Kong citizenship and China citizenship. Escalating a normal debate about “how many new immigrants can Hong Kong accommodate” to a criticism on “discrimination”, and hesitate or even resent the idea of Hong Kong taking back the immigration approval right, are essentially questioning the idea of differentiating Hong Kong citizenship and China citizenship. Such criticism is no different from supporting the demolition of Hong Kong Dollar or the boarder between Hong Kong and China, that is to ensure the premature emergence of one-country-one-system that is supposed to begin in 2046, and destroy the Special Administrative Region system – the destruction of Hong Kong.
In conclusion, there is no surprise that China’s CCP backed media and some Hong Kong pseudo left wingers conspire to attack those who are against Hong Kong’s sinicisation, and the former frequently quote the latter on their arguments.