Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Nationalist tools

In the recent event a group of 14 Chinese activists from Hong Kong sailed on the fishing boat, the Kai Fung No 2 to the disputed Diaoyu Island. They were arrested by the Japanese soon after they've successfully landed and planted the PRC and ROC on the Island. This activity called Baodiao (Short for protecting the Diao Yu Islands) happens almost yearly always strain the relationship between the two countries. Both sides have been making claim on the territory, a dispute with history that stretch back to the late Qing dynasty. The activists were swiftly released by Japan to ease off any further tension. When the activists returned to Hong Kong they were greeted as heroes. But the irony is that these patriots who flew the PRC flags were also the same people who were previously seen burning the same 'five star flag' when protesting against the Chinese Communist Party.

Anti-Japanese protests by broke out in the cities around China, thousands marched down the streets with the PRC flags and carrying banners with anti-Japanese slogans such as "Japan get out of the Diaoyu Islands" to the more xenophobic "Kill all the Japanese dead". Generally it was relatively peaceful however there are a number of angry mobs that went around smashing up windows of Japanese stores and turning over Japanese made cars on the streets. They didn't seem to care that almost all of the stores/businesses are likely to be owned by Chinese and cars are most probably 'made in China'. Of course rioters are only venting their anger and hatred at Japanese objects as a symbolic mean. But sadly not only did their actons do little harm to their 'enemy' it is actually counter productive as it caused some damage to the local economy. Another irony. When patriotism goes out of control and emotions take over all rationality just goes out of the window.

That's why educators in Hong Kong need to be cautious with the implementation of National education (or brain washing). Likely this will only breed a whole generation of raging fenqings 愤青 (angry youths) who blindly follow nationalistic tendencies without any sense of rationality or logic. Just as what Henry David Thoreau an American poet once wrote 'Patriotism is a maggot in their heads'. These fenqings must have maggots for brains then. You may also refer to my post about Chinese pride. Nationalism is often exploited by government or politicians to unite the nation against the enemy as this will direct attention away from internal problems thus securing their power. With the current strain between Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese, by having a common enemy this seems to be the perfect opportunity to bring unity of both groups. The constant reminder of  budding threat of foreign invaders will undermine the concern for issues that are much more closer to home. The only hope is that morality will prevail and keep people in check.


  1. Can't speak for Hong Kong or mistakenly attacking Japanese property in the name of nationalism/patriotism, but as far as social identity is concerned for British Chinese, we can take taking positive steps to fixing our own local community, speaking out against sinophobia and developing solidarity with each other in the name of racial pride, without the need to take it out on age old feuds between neigbouring countries.

    It's when passion meets logic, and hopefully, a sense of justice, that racial pride is justified.

    Many times, violence can be avoided when there is education. Many times however, those who correctly recognise injustice, are too scared to speak out.

    And if injustice is not spoken out against, controversial issues avoided , or ignored in the name of self-interest , then that, in itself, is just plain deluded.

    In this respect also, moralism cannot logically prevail when those who ought to speak out, don't.

  2. I mostly agree, I think there's a lack of leadership in the community because everyone wants to keep to themselves. However we should stand up for the sake of civic rights rather than racial pride.

    The case in point here is on how the government uses nationalism as a way to assert authority over their citizens. The National Education that is going to be taught in HK schools is doing the exact thing. I don't think children can develop any logical thinking by teaching them propaganda and bias information. That's why it should be resisted.

    1. I agree about propaganda not working for HK schools. IMO HK is in a weird state where it has to choose between independence , or china rulership - which is taking over by the day, and change isn't easy and its former masters are no longer around to advise.

      Are you more interested in HK or British Chinese issues, and why?

      In BC community agreed there's a lack of leadership, and if there's no leader its just up to a handful of us to speak out against racial injustice online until we decide we are ready to meet up.

      And what do you mean by civic rights, exactly? What bigger issue is there than 'race' that affects us as Chinese in the UK?

      And If we have no platform , no support, an abundance of self interest, no official language of our community, how would you start to implement these 'civic rights'?

    2. I'm interested in both really, but there seems to be more happening in HK than there is in our community. I think you and BBCZ seems to be good at finding British Chinese topics to write about than I do. But I like many BBCs consider HK to be our second home so I believe a lot us are interested in what's happening over there.

      Well civic rights cover a broad range of things, racial equality is one part of it. Simply the right to be treated fairly in society and free from discrimination. These are just basic condition that we all strive for, so it's not just applied to a minority of people but the mass society. Of course racial descrimination is a specific issue that we're concerned with.