Thursday, December 29, 2011

Integrate with Large Power Next Door, Feel more Localized

You know the story. A small island state is integrated to the Big Ugly Neighbor next door. The media is shocked to learn what everyone knows intuitively -- despite economic integration, the locals feel that their local identity is strengthened. No, I'm not talking about Taiwan, but Hong Kong... (via SCMP):
Despite increasing economic integration, locals are viewing themselves more strongly as Hongkongers rather than Chinese citizens than at any time in the past decade, a survey has found.

The poll asked 1,016 city residents to rank the strength of their feelings as "Hong Kong citizens" on a scale from zero to 10, and found an average rating of 8.23 points, a 10-year high.

Asked the same question about their identity as "Chinese citizens", the average rating was 7.01 points, a 12-year low. The poll was conducted from December 12-20.

The University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme has conducted such surveys from time to time since the 1997 handover.

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, the programme's director, said: "This [trend] is contrary to the [direction of] China's economic development in recent years, so it must be due to factors beyond economic development." But he stopped short of speculating about the reasons behind the fluctuations in these figures.

The pollsters combined all the survey results into an identity index on a scale from zero to 100. City residents' strongest feelings of identity are as "Hong Kong citizens", at 79.1 points, followed by "members of the Chinese race" at 72.5 points.

Then came "Asians", at 72.1 points; "Chinese citizens", at 67.9 points; "global citizens", at 67 points; and finally "citizens of the People's Republic of China", at 61.1 points.

"The feeling of being `citizens of the PRC' was the weakest among all identities tested," Chung said.
It's not "despite", it's "because". Economic integration with big colonialist powers next door never makes locals feel like part of the Power but usually has the exact opposite effect: it reinforces local identities. Ask the Taiwanese, the Canadians, or the Baltic states.....
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL. I think you could get similar results from Parisians and San Franciscans.