Hong Kong with a mixture of excitement and despair ahead of 20th anniversary of handover

Jun 29, 2017, 09:00 am

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By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday

Sentiment seems to be turning upbeat in Hong Kong two days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty. The governments of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are trying to make a big celebration. Besides, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Hong Kong between June 29 and July 1. It will be his first visit to the city as Chinese leader, and his visit is aimed to demonstrate the fact that the handover was a perfect decision.

A recent picture of Hong Kong ahead of the 20th anniversary of the handover. Sentiment is turning upbeat./ Source: China News Service (CNS)

According to Beijing's diplomatic sources and foreign news on Thursday, pro-Chinese residents and Chinese immigrants in Hong Kong are fully enthusiastic indeed, even though the 20th anniversary is still two days ahead. They claim that the idea of "gang ren zhi gang" - Hong Kong people running their own affairs - has actually become a reality.

However, things are a little different if you take a closer look. You will hear complaints everywhere saying that personal freedoms and high economic conditions that Hong Kong has enjoyed has been fading much over the last two decades. Perhaps it's a voice of frustration and despair over Hong Kong's decline. Such sentiment is at its peak among pro-independence parties. This means that they fell into despair saying that Hong Kong is completely over due to gradual sinicization of Hong Kong over the last 20 years.

Looking at Hong Kong's present situation, such extreme views have their own reasons. The clear thing is that Hong Kong's status has declined significantly compared with 20 years ago. Hong Kong's GDP was around 20% the size of the mainland 20 years ago, but now it's less than 3%. Its dependence on Chinese trade is also extremely severe. Twenty years ago, it was 36.3%, but it now exceeds 50%. It is expected to be even worse in the future. Besides, considering the fact that most of the key companies in Hong Kong's financial world are Chinese, some conscious Hong Kongers have enough reasons to be discouraged. In short, Hong Kong's sinicization has become irresistible.

In a highly capitalist society like Hong Kong, the economy is placed above everything else. Therefore, it can be said that it's now almost impossible for Hong Kong to survive on its own. Although Hong Kong is put in between excitement and despair ahead of the 20th anniversary of the handover, it is definitely going through rapid sinicization.

#Hong Kong #20th anniversary #handover 
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