HK and Mainland – Meeting Point / Turning Point

Are we supposed to meet? Eye to eye or not at all?

We have one country, two systems. As quoted many times by both sides, we are like well water 井水 and river water 河水which should not  meet 不犯 nor cross; at least within the 50 years that follow 1997.

It is alright for us not meeting; but in real life we do meet. It may still be alright even if we do meet, if not for the fact that we have different systems and different values.

We meet each other as tourists, we meet each other in the maternity hospital wards and the train carriages, we meet over property deals, we shall meet each other when we are free to drive in each others’ cities, we meet each other when calling each other “dogs” and “locusts” in the media, we almost meet each other at the D &G store, we meet each other over the High Speed Rail and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, we also  meet each other when we are part of the State’s 12-5 Plan.

Where should we meet? If we are to meet at the mid-point, then HK should move closer to Mainland and vice versa. If we are to meet at the more advanced level, then HK should move further away while Mainland catch up.  It is where we meet and how we meet that creates friction.

This city is among one the world’s freest societies. We enjoy democracy, the rule of law and not much corruption (with the possible rare exception of the CE?). The mainland may not have the same systems or values. Where should we meet ? It appears that both sides should give a lot more consideration as to where and how we interface.

15 years after 1997, HK still appears to have an identity problem. Who are we? What do we want to be?  Will we be allowed to be what we want to be? Where shall we go from here? Are we a model for mainland, or a threat? Are we changing mainland, or mainland changing us? Should we become more like mainland or more international?

Hong Kong’s future is obviously tied to the mainland.   We are like a couple with conflicting emotions—admiration and resentment, loyalty and mistrust, love and fear for each other. The two lost souls are trying to learn from, depend on, influence and to an extent intimidate each other. Each needs the other to prosper, yet each also sees the other as potentially harmful?

Both of us are experimenting. HK is experimenting with political change. Its citizens are experimenting with becoming more vocal, fighting for more rights.  Its economy is trying to seek out its future. Its demographics are in a stake of flux.

15 years after 1997, we are at a turning point. HK is not just looking for fortune; we are looking for a host of many things. A new CE will be elected soon and the future five years would be in his (good?)hands.

The mainland is also at a turning point. There will be a succession in leadership, it will have to boost domestic consumption to sustain long-term economic growth instead of relying on export. They will have to make changes in their political and social systems in order to move forward.

Of course, this city matters the mainland. It matters because it is a unique experiment that will probably succeed but could possibly fail: the creation of a free, international city and financial hub within China. There will be more meeting points and turning points but I am sure that the two sides will finally meet up in 2047.

4 thoughts on “HK and Mainland – Meeting Point / Turning Point

  1. i have read an article similar to yours but written by an Italian studying phd in one of the universities in HK. he mentioned the same problem of identity of the hkness. it is very true that mainland and hk has their own political value, system, and perceptions. I do not believe HK system will be the democratic system for China nor American system. I believe it will go totally different direction bc of its anti-western ideology from Mao. I see that if HKness not fighting for their freedom and train the young people to be more invovled in the democratic system, this is another factor to explain the losing of democracy in hk. Another factor is centralization is what china wanted. I feel democracy is losing the past 10 years in HK.. it is not like before. I dont think the question of should hk become more like the mianland or international. I believe Hk can evolve from itself to have its own culture since it has a unique political system in the geography. Hk should not follow any rather evolve itself out from the transition period.

    in fact, i have not talked to any hkness about their identity issue bc they seem to me as always proud of their identity and differentiate themselves from the mainland’ers”.

    i hope this is not too long :]

    good luck for HK


    • Hi, you have a very good understanding of the HK situation / culture and those in Mainland China as well. HK basically adopts a set of values which are upheld by many of the developed countries and there is sufficent difference between these and those adopted / prepare to be adopted by Mainland. There are recent signs that Mainland will try to impose more of their set of values to HKnees and this where the conflicts arise. I’m glad that you actually read my post; many of the readers just prefer the lighter side, reading my travel posts. Thanks a lot for your inspiring comment! Michael

  2. hi.. in fact 井水不犯 河水 is even employed in chinese foreign policy or relations with other country.. i was not shocked but surprise how these philosophies are applying in its foreign relations.
    im interested in chinese politics but i have never done any academic research because i turn my focus on somewhere else.

    if Yemen happen to be ur adventure list.. :] let me know and i will very happy to assist you. Yemen is a beautiful country and very different from egypt even as a Muslim country.


    • If you can quote 井水不犯 河水 then you must be someone with in depth understanding of Chinese and China. This is difficult to apply between HK and Mainland not to say internationally. Yemen is not yet on my radar. I have heard of its great beauty, especially in the mountains. I need to learn a lot more about it. If I should come this way, I will drop you a line to see how a trip can be organized. Regards, Michael

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