Reducing Mainlandization

The close relationship between the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong opposition is no longer a secret. The downfall of Occupy Central, the immediate eruption of Hong Kong’s “mainlandization,” and a radical opposition boldly pushing Hong Kong to break away from China are actually also the ideas of Americans. Martin Murphy, former head of the Economic-Political Section at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong and former elite U.S. diplomat, recently stated in the South China Morning Post, “[Hong Kong’s] over-reliance on the mainland is becoming a perilous venture. Having grown fat and lazy on mainland tourism and entrepot services, some of Hong Kong’s pillar economic sectors are now facing the double whammy of both a slowing Chinese economy and a cheaper Yuan … But the economy is just one arena where Hong Kong would benefit from less mainlandization … To reach its full potential as a more autonomous player operating outside of the Chinese milieu, however, will require Hong Kong’s democratic partners to step up to the plate to help the city get its groove back.” Americans have already hinted to the Hong Kong opposition that it should eliminate “Chinization” and cut off its economic links with China. However, by doing this, does Hong Kong have a way out? Wouldn’t its development be affected? The American call for reduced mainlandization is nothing more than a tactic to cause trouble for both China and Hong Kong and to restrain China.

If Hong Kong wants to play the role of “superconnector,” it must grasp a greater opportunity in China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy and the next step of its economic reform. This time, Americans are urging Hong Kong to reduce mainlandization and sever its cooperation with China in order to prevent Hong Kong from supporting China, especially in tertiary industries, such as the financial service industry and shipping industry. This is because if China successfully expands its tertiary industries, it would quickly surpass the United States and become the world’s largest economic body.

Murphy states that if Hong Kong can reduce mainlandization, not only would its economy benefit, but so would its businesses, investors and international image. To restore things back to normal, Hong Kong will need the assistance of democratic countries. If democratic nations hope to make even a little difference in Hong Kong’s future, they will need to adopt more concrete strategies, such as helping Hong Kong to promote its autonomy, rule of law and unique way of life, as well as to deepen their engagement with Hong Kong officials, institutions and civil society. He suggests that there should be a formal dialogue between the Legislative Council and other democratic legislatures, with a focus on economic issues, immigration, visas and other areas. “Beyond these issues lies an ocean of other challenges, ranging from the environment to education to youth dissatisfaction, that are ripe for Hong Kong and its democratic partners to forge new partnerships.” If, according to Murphy’s suggestions, Hong Kong does reduce its mainlandization and strengthens its cooperation with democracies, doesn’t this sort of cooperation sound like the Color Revolution?

Occupy Central used illegal and violent methods in an attempt to tamper with the government and wreak havoc in Hong Kong, but in the end, these methods were unsuccessful and the Umbrella Revolution ended without a scratch. Americans have not surrendered and want to take another stab, so they bring up the idea of reducing mainlandization to Hong Kong and then reach a sinister hand to Hong Kong’s economic domain by first creating the impression that Hong Kong-Chinese cooperation is more harmful than beneficial: Hong Kong has grown fat and lazy on mainland tourism and entrepot services. Hong Kong’s retail profits and commercial property market feel the blow of the Yuan’s devaluation. Americans have been plotting a long time to stir up anxiety in Hong Kong about reducing mainlandization, to treat Hong Kong like a fishbone in China’s throat, and to strangle China’s economy before it can develop any further.

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