Who Is Hong Kong? 2
Colonial Past, Globalized Past
From Chinese City to Crown Colony to Special Administrative Region
First, it went from part of a province in an empire to the colony of a foreign power and then to something not quite city, not quite province. As a colony, it held an indefinite, unique place in the world: situated in the East but linked to the West, it did not fully belong to either. Now, it continues to hold that place. Some have even said that the handover has served as the “re-colonization” of Hong Kong while the de-colonization from Britain simultaneously occurs: efforts are made to incorporate Hong Kong into mainland China culturally and politically while the region is still learning to separate itself from its colonial identity (W. Wong 10).
The second way in which the Hong Kong identity was ambiguous is that it went from being an intrinsic part of China, indisputably Chinese and of China, to being a re-introduced element. Hong Kong had been removed and had seen the world, it had been given a taste of something different, and as such the handover to China was less of a return to a homeland and more like a child’s introduction to her long-lost parents. The official phrase “One Country, Two Systems,” which I heard alluded to repeatedly while in Hong Kong, is a clear example of this relationship Hong Kong has with the People’s Republic of China. “One Country, Two Systems” refers to the manner in which Hong Kong is considered a part of China, but is allowed to have its own political and economic systems as well as foreign relations. However, Hong Kong has had the chance to meet and become a part of a world that China has not yet fully entered, and as such the two sets of systems are not only different, but also opposing in some cases.
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