This past weekend I traveled to San Francisco to get a first hand account of Hong Kong under Colonial Rule. In order to do this I sat down with Betty Pon, a Hong Kong native. Although she now lives in the United States, she remains well informed on many of the key issues surrounding both Hong Kong and China and gave me an interesting perspective about the condition of Hong Kong.
as we sat down I was pleased at how open and frank she was, and we quickly began to discuss some of China’s current events. I asked about her thoughts on the incidents surrounding Diaoyu Island and she admitted that in her opinion there is “no solution” and that it will likely be an “endless fight.” I was surprised at her knowledge of the conflict’s details, as she even mentioned how the Japanese blasted a Taiwanese fishing boat with water guns when it had crossed into Japanese claimed territory.
Her point of view on the former British colony in Hong Kong was equally interesting, and she stated simply, “Hong Kong is in a hard situation.” She expanded on this telling me of how the people of Hong Kong had functioned very well under colonial rule, adjusting to their situation and taking advantage of their unique political ties to create a strong economy through trade and finance. However not everything was bright and cheery under colonial rule she told me, explaining that bed bugs were a frequent problem which the Health Department was unable to solve for some time. Bed bugs aside, it was a prosperous time for Hong Kong in comparison to the rest of China.
She also spoke of her concert about how the Chinese government is currently running the country and mentioned how there has been recent unrest because of China’s attempts to place textbooks which locals claim are brainwashing students. She concluded by saying she was unsure how long Hong Kong could resist China’s attempts to reabsorb Hong Kong politically, and admitted she doesn’t feel Hong Kong will experience much progress once China completely takes over it.
As the interview neared an end I asked her whether she considered herself to be Hong Kongnese or Chinese. “I have always been Chinese,” she answered, “because I am proud of who I am, but when I came to the United States I became American.” This statement was not too surprising from a woman who though she was born in Hong Kong, has lived the last 65 years of her life in the US.