Saturday, October 04, 2014

Xi and the Politics of Resentment

A ladybug poses for me.

A post highlighting the resentment of Chinese toward Hong Kong made the rounds of the intertubes and was even mentioned in Foreign Policy mag online... It translated a portion of a post in Chinese that noted:
Part One – Let’s take a look at what the mother country has done for Hong Kong:

1. With respect to politics, China has strictly implemented the ‘one country, two systems’ policy, and resolutely stuck to it. Also China has not implemented any of its national law in Hong Kong, meaning Hong Kong has enjoyed high autonomy, an independent judiciary system and the right to self-govern.

2. With regards to public finance, Hong Kong does not need to pay any taxes to the central government. Although a part of China, Hong Kong has never paid one cent in tax. Hong Kong people are free to spend the money they earn, and use it for Hong Kong’s own development. Poorer provinces suffering hardship in the motherland don’t look to it for financial assistance, much to the envy of high tax paying provinces such as neighbouring Guangdong.

3. Safeguarding Hong Kong’s development. The central government has helped protect Hong Kong’s historic superiority in international finance by suppressing development of its mainland competition including Shanghai’s deep port, free-trade zone, financial centre and even a Disney park.

4. Duty-free trade. The mainland market is open to Hong Kong goods, for example there are 273 important product categories which are exempt from import duties. This sort of favourable treatment is definitely the envy of surrounding countries.

5. In terms of tourism, the whole nation provides support. The central government always encourages mainlanders to travel to Hong Kong, and the main activity is shopping. Usually mainlanders are loathe to part with their cash, but in Hong Kong they spend loads, which helps Hong Kong’s economic development.

6. Economic support from behind the scenes. As China grows into an economic power, many economic systems are now dependent on it, Hong Kong being no exception. Hong Kong enjoys special investment privileges in the mainland, so it can be said that the mainland has been a key supporter for Hong Kong in times of economic crisis.

7. People’s livelihood. Hong Kong is a small mountainous area with little in the way of land suitable for farming. As such, Hong Kong is dependent on the mainland for food and water. Everyday the mainland’s freshest and highest quality meat, vegetables, eggs and milk are delivered to Hong Kong. The mainland has always been generous in ensuring supplies of water, electricity, and gas to Hong Kong, a situation which has never been in doubt.

8. Respect on the international stage. Internationally Hong Kong’s local government is given a high degree of respect and special privileges. Hong Kong is allowed to represent itself in global affairs such as economic alliances and global sports events, participating alongside the central government.
The rightness or wrongness of these claims is not the issue. The issue is that when Xi made his offer of One Country, Two Systems for Taiwan even as the protests in Hong Kong were being attacked by the police (and knowing what would happen a few days later), he was playing to this resentment, which I've discussed before. That resentment in turn helps lay the foundation for popular support for harsh measures against Hong Kong and of course... Taiwan.
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1 comment:

Marc said...

This was an article from the Onion, right?