Image credit: Josh Chin.
If given the option, Hong Kong residents would strongly vote in favour of returning to their pre-1997 position as a British overseas territory, according to an SCMP poll.
The poll (which probably isn’t that representative but is fun to discuss nevertheless) was carried out in the wake of a referendum carried out on the Falkland Islands which came down overwhelmingly in favour of remaining under British control.
Would Hongkongers vote to return to a British overseas territory, given the option?
The past year has seen increased tension between the Hong Kong special administrative zone (SAR) and the mainland. In September 2012, controversial plans for the introduction of ‘patriotic education’ classes in Hong Kong were defeated after mass uproar and protests. Disquiet soon carried over into protests against parallel traders, particularly those dealing in milk powder, which often took on a stridently xenophobic, anti-China tone. The flag of British Hong Kong often appears at protests and has been embraced by many young Hongkongers as a symbol of defiance against rule from Beijing. The British Council, which promotes tourism to the UK, had to pull a series of adverts in the Hong Kong MTR system which bore the slogan ‘This is Great Britain’, after the symbolism of the adverts was seised upon by both pro-independence and pro-China activists.
Beijing has not exactly done its utmost to quell tensions in the Hong Kong SAR. During a press conference following the Lamma Island ferry disaster, Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung was shadowed by an official from the mainland central liaison office, fuelling accusations that Leung is too close to Beijing. Mainland ideologues such as ultra-nationalist Kong Qingdong and former official Lu Ping have often stoked the embers of resentment in the SAR by attacking even moderate voices as ‘British running dogs’ and calling for those who reject rule from Beijing to ‘love China or leave‘.
According to the current legislative timeline, Hongkongers will be granted universal suffrage and the ability to directly elect their leaders in 2017.