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The Making of Hong Kong Nationalism

Authors So, Alvin Y.C. View this author's profile
Issue Date 2016
Source Asian Nationalism Reconsidered , / Edited by Jeff Kingston. Oxford : Routledge, 2016, p. 135-146
Summary This paper examines the historical process and the socio-political roots of the making of “Hong Kong nationalism” discourse. Over the past two centuries, the discourse of Chinese nationalism was hegemonic in Hong Kong society. However, the discourse of Chinese nationalism evolved since the late 2000s and now emphasizes regaining separation between Hong Kong and China and the need to defend Hong Kong’s way of life. This discourse also stereotypes mainlanders as “locusts,” and taps into grassroots resentment. This paper identifies the influx of mainland tourists and migrants and growing social inequality as the underlying structural forces that lead to the shift from Chinese nationalism to a Hong Kong localist discourse. The Chief Executive’s policy speech in 2015 transformed this discourse into an incipient “Hong Kong nationalism”. Since this “Hong Kong nationalism” just emerged in 2015, it is still under construction. It is not yet an ideology and it is uncertain how much public support it commands. Anti-locust protests remained very small and the mass media generally condemned this militant approach, reflecting perhaps state intervention to derail this movement. Nevertheless, the emergence of a discourse of Hong Kong nationalism has served to polarize Hong Kong society and complicate Hong Kong politics. If Beijing continues to wage a hardline policy toward Hong Kong and interfere extensively in the city, such actions could radicalize HongKongers and promote self-determination (self-autonomy). In this sense, Beijing may ignite support for political independence in Hong Kong, just like Leung Chun-yin did in mainstreaming “Hong Kong nationalism” in 2015.
Publisher Routledge
ISBN 9781138826038
Language English
Format Book chapter
Access Find@HKUST