Wednesday, 10 August 2014
20 years ago, I asked why my grandfather wasn’t leaving Hong Kong. The 1997 handover date between England and China was fast arriving and the events of Tiananmen Square were still relatively fresh in our minds, yet his entire side of the family looked set to stay.
He told me something that I’ll never forget: China will find its own way.
Immediately, I was reminded that China has endured and prospered for centuries without any help from the outside, Western or otherwise; and that China has everything to gain from learning about how capitalism works in Hong Kong.
And it gave me faith.
The years since have proven my grandfather right. To this day, the clarity, foresight and wisdom he showed with those few words still give me reason for pause.
There is something else I’m coming to terms with now – something my father said: China is the future. That’s why I’m trying to learn to read Simplified Chinese rather than complain about the eventual death of a dialect I grew up with.
Whatever happens in Hong Kong, whether the students prevail, or the government refuses to bend, and however the police deal with the situation, China will find its own way. That is the only way it can be if China wants to be a world leader.
What everyone else says – Western governments, the Western media, the people commentating from the outside, even me – is quite irrelevant.
Recently, I piped up quite a lot about the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong that’s making the news. A lot of people just assumed, then, that I’m some kind of hippy who supports and demands democracy.
To me, democracy is an option that suits some people. There was a time in China’s history when democracy stopped working for them – something many are saying now about their own countries. But I digress.
I just don’t want another Tiananmen Square to happen. Many of those who remember or were indeed a part of Tiananmen Square are now parents. We’re screaming the lessons we learned at our television screens. There are kids out there doing their homework while occupying the streets of Central and Admiralty. I know too many people there. It is my home away from home.
I want people to be aware of what’s happening in Hong Kong because it means China can’t afford to lose face with whatever it decides to do.
As the slogan goes: Occupy Central With Love and Peace.