25th March, 2014
How did “Mainland” Invade Hong Kong: Communist’s Control over Use of Words
「內地」如何進佔香港 － 中共對語言用字的確切規定
From major issues, for example, acting as China’s mouthpiece during the last Chief Executive election (not elected by the citizens of Hong Kong but a small committee handpicked by the Communist Party), to the usage of words have shown clear, media in Hong Kong are leaning toward China. About the usage of words, the term “Mainland” is a Newspeak word that refers to “China”, a neutral term that had been used for decades prior to the 1997 handover. Tai Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao, pro-China and communist newspapers, of course are happy to use this Newspeak word, but newspaper who appeared to be neutral (even though they are clearly sided with the establishment and China), including Ming Pao Daily and Sing Tao Daily, as well as Apple Daily, a local paper that is renowned for its anti-communist stance, are all using the Newspeak term “Mainland” when they write about China. Some new media, for example, The House News, are also using the Communist China’s Newspeak terminologies. Raio and TV stations, of course, are contributing to the brainwashing campaign: it has taken just over a decade, “Mainland” has replaced the word “China”.
Politicians who come across “progressive” and activists were the first to use the term “Mainland” because they support Hong Kong-China Assimilation, so it makes sense to them for China to be the “mainland” of Hong Kong. The pan-democrats who claim to support One-Country-Two-Systems also use the term “Mainland” – the words they use unveil their true colours: in their heart of hearts, they see Hong Kong and China as one, Two-Systems only exists on paper and are empty words.
There were even cases when interviewees said “China” in their responses to RTHK programmes, the subtitles showed “Mainland” instead. How did all the media and politicians in Hong Kong manage to synchronise the use of the term “Mainland” as if it is a carefully choreographed military exercise? The answer is simple: China set strict rules on this.
An article in a China journal that was published in 1997 stated clearly all the rules China government set out for the media. Below is the extract from the article “The Correct Usage of Words in Propaganda (news articles) Involving Hong Kong”:
* Must NOT describe Hong Kong as a (former) British colony, but one can say “Britain exercised colonial governance over Hong Kong”.
* Must NOT describe the “return of Hong Kong (to China)” as “the change of suzerain” nor “China is the new suzerain”
* Must NOT use the words “take back sovereignty” and “transfer of sovereignty” when describing the change of Hong Kong’s sovereignty. Correct expressions are: “China government resume its sovereignty over Hong Kong”, “Hong Kong return back to its motherland” and “China retrieves Hong Kong” .
* Hong Kong is part of China’s inseparable territory, hence the name “Hong Kong” does not have the equal status as that of China (cannot be used on a “parallel level). This means that phrases like “China-HK joint ventures” and “China-HK communications” are forbidden.
* For special denominations that involve the name “Hong Kong”, quotation marks must be used, for example “China-Hong Kong Economic and Trade Association”.
* When Hong Kong is listed together with other nations, the description should highlight “countries and regions”, for example “countries and regions including Germany, France and Hong Kong participated in this conference”.
* When reporting on the boarder between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, it must NOT be referred to as “boundary line” and should be referred to as “administrative line”.
* When referencing to right-wing political parties* in Hong Kong, quotation marks have to be used, for example, “pan-democrats” and “Democratic Party”.
The scanned article is available here and here.
China’s rules on the use of words that involve Hong Kong are extremely detailed. Based on the rules the above was extracted from, the overarching themes of China’s Newspeak about Hong Kong are: (a) to degrade Hong Kong’s status (cannot be listed together with “China”, “boundary” is blurred and becomes “administrative line”); (b) to distort and replace the term “handover of (Hong Kong’s) sovereignty” agreed on the Sino-British Joint Declaration by rebranding it as a simple “return”. These two themes run through all the media in Hong Kong except for commentaries submitted by a handful of independent commentators. The mass majority of the media in Hong Kong and press releases and speeches (issued by the government) follow these two “commandments”.
China uses a lot of quotation marks when referring to things that they do not agree with, including the term pan-democrats and New Territories, a name that is widely accepted and recognised.
When a language is being “assimilated” by another (with its government being the driver), the ideology of the people who use this language will be assimilated too. The language differences (specifically referring to writing style) in Hong Kong and China parted in the early 20th century, when Qing was replaced by the Republic of China. After Yan Fu published his translation of Evolution and Ethics by Thomas Henry Huxley, Social Darwinism and theory of self-improvement and eugenics became the mainstream school of thoughts. New Culture Movement, change of customs, uproot superstitious, abolish foot binding and many more have shown that revolution all begin from languages and words.
The drivers of the New Culture Movement began to use the very clumsy (not standardised nor used in written form) colloquial Chinese to “express their thoughts in words”: Lu Xun for example proposed the Latinisation of Chinese language(s). Hong Kong, however, took a completely different path: it began with Sir Cecil Clementi (the governor of Hong Kong from 1925 to 1930) recruited Lai Chi-hsi (Lai Jixi), a senior official at The Hanlin Academy, to head up the Chinese Language Department of Hong Kong University.
A number of Hong Kong governors received the “old-school” Chinese language education, that is a combination of Cantonese and classical Chinese (written). The phrase “奉政府喻” (which means Government warning that is written in classical Cantonese/Chinese) is still used in public places in Hong Kong. During his time in Hong Kong, Sir Clementi built a language tradition in Hong Kong that is different from that in Republic of China (as mentioned above, ROC’s culture movement aims at abolishing the classical language and the use of elegant words, and replace it with a colloquial language). As cultural differences prolong for a period of time, political awareness would also different. When Sir Mark Aitchison Young was the Governor of Hong Kong, China experienced substantially changes. As Young’s successor, Crawford Murray MacLehose had to govern Hong Kong, which had been on a different path of China due to various historical reasons, and at the same time home to many refugees who did not want to return to China. All these contribute to the fact that Hong Kong is more different from China in nature by day.
When Hong Kong was under British rule, the British government fended off the communist and extreme socialist ideology from China – which helped the British to govern Hong Kong, and at the same time safeguarded Hongkongers against the brutality of China (Cultural Revolution).
Lord Chris Patten, the 28th Governor of Hong Kong, said in his book West and East: “watch out for the barbarians over the border”. As soon as the British left Hong Kong, the defense disappeared. Languages in Hong Kong immediately suffered from China’s fast and aggressive “assimilation”. British promoted and enhanced Sinology in Hong Kong which protected Hong Kong from China. As soon as the British left, Hong Kong was turned into “China Hong Kong”, China became “Mainland”, “handover of sovereignty” became “return to motherland”, but “Democratic Party” is no longer an opposition party but a party that cooperates with the Communist.
The reasons for degrading and stripping off Hong Kong’s culture are to ensure that Hong Kong will be the financing powerhouse for China but at the same time stop Hong Kong’s local consciousness from being awakened. China’s manipulation of language has changed the view of Hongkongers, and turned Hong Kong from an international city-state to an insignificant part of the Chinese Empire. China threatens Hong Kong with the term “marginalisation” all the time, but China would never allow marginalisation to happen in Hong Kong – during the Opium War, Hong Kong was marginalised, and immediately became the nest of anti-Qing gangs, and was fully utilised by the “foreign powers”.
People in China government must have studied history, and they would not allow Hong Kong to be marginalised (i.e. become the hub for “foreign powers” to interfere China). China will continue to “reshape” Hong Kong with its economic power, and use public power and media to erase Hong Kong culture – sooner or later they will force all Hongkongers to speak in Mandarin and write in Simplified Chinese. Hong Kong is very important to China, so they have to gain complete control over Hong Kong to ensure that Hong Kong can never be free from slavery.\
By Lewis Loud
* Democratic Party was seen as an opposition party or anti-China party prior to the handover in 1997. However, it has become a major supporter of Hong Kong-China Assimilation and the founding members and allies are believers of Greater-China-reunification (i.e. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau are part of China).