As the 20th anniversary of the handover approaches there’s an increasing focus on how Hong Kong has changed over the last two decades. One fact likely to disappoint any dignitaries visiting from the Mainland on July 1 is that, according to a poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong, only 3.1 percent of Hongkongers between 18-29 years of age identify as Chinese. Dealing a further blow to the notion of ‘one country’, another HKU poll, released yesterday, relating to Hongkonger’s ethnic identity, revealed that the feeling of being “citizens of the People’s Republic of China” was the weakest among all the different identities tested.
Incoming Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who will take office on July 1, has already talked of tackling Hongkongers’ weak affection for the Mainland. Speaking on the campaign trail in March she stated: “An affection for Hong Kong and a national identity are not mutually exclusive. We can let children learn more about Hong Kong’s history, culture, politics and social development, and at the same time we must make them have their national identity.”
After the furore caused in the past by plans to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, which relates to offences such as treason and sedition, and the huge protests following the proposed Moral and National Education curriculum, it seems unlikely Lam’s comments will be well received, especially by the young, here in the SAR.