lørdag 26. august 2017

Hong Kong people don’t need any history lessons from mainland China, thanks

Many of Hong Kong’s oldest temples, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, are consecrated in the name of Hau Wong. It is the honorary title bestowed upon Yang Liangjie, a general who defended the last emperor of the Song dynasty until his, and the dynasty’s, dying breath in 1279, not far from what is now Kowloon City. No one remembers that the Song dynasty made its last stand in Hong Kong.

Because there is one thing the British and Chinese have both always got wrong: the story of Hong Kong does not start with the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. That moment aboard Her Majesty’s Ship Cornwallis has long been the convenient first page of both British and Chinese histories of Hong Kong, but only because it feeds the two countries’ preferred narratives: the British Empire as benevolent colonial power that transformed a barren rock into a global financial centre, and the Communist Party as liberator of the Chinese people from a century of humiliation.