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Hong Kong

Hong Kong Nostalgic For Its Good Old (Colonial) Past



HONG KONG – Is Hong Kong nostalgic for British colonial times?

Hundreds of people turned up in front of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong earlier this week to mark China’s National Day.

They were waving red-white-and-blue colonial flags, a gesture meant to drum up support for more democracy in China, according to Liberty Times.

Recent protests in Hong Kong have been awash with the UnionFlag, especially the old colonial standard:)#BritishIsBest twitter.com/GeorgeMorrall/…

— George Morrall (@GeorgeMorrall) October 3, 2012

This new trend has been observed in recent demonstrations, according to the Hong Kong Standard.

Ever since the 1997 handover of Hong Kong sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China, the Civil Human Rights Front NGO has held an annual pro-democracy rally every July 1st. These past years, more and more protesters were carrying British colonial flags.

Colonial Hong Kong flag protest in front of the Liaison Office in Sai Wan. #hk #hkg #china twitter.com/Badcanto/statu…

— Badcanto Wordpress (@Badcanto) October 1, 2012

This year has seen more flags than ever, as discontent on the island has soared for a number of reasons: from collusion between business and governmental officials, a growing disparity between the rich and the poor, and human rights and democracy issues.

In recent months, a series of incidents including the mysterious death of Li Wangyang, a Chinese pro-democracy activist and the plan to impose “Chinese patriotic lessons” in Hong Kong’s schools sparked a number of demonstrations.

According to a survey conducted in May by the University of Hong Kong, the resentment towards the Hong Kong government as well as authorities in Beijing has soared to 36% and 32% respectively, the highest since 1997.

Clashes between Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong residents have also aggravated the Hong Kong-China relations. Rich Mainland Chinese flood into Hong Kong to invest in real estate, hiking up property prices to unbelievable heights. Pregnant women from Mainland China cross the border to give birth in Hong Kong’s hospitals, so that their children can obtain the special administration region’s passport. This has contributed to the intensification of resentment against the Chinese.

It’s doubtful that Hong Kong nationals are actually attached to British colonial times. They are just showing their dissatisfaction with Chinese rule. Still, some do explicitly state that they miss the “Good old days.”

Fifteen years after the handover of Hong Kong to China, says the Epoch Times, a US-based Chinese media, “If we lived a happier, freer and more dignified life today than before, would there be so many people cherishing the memory of British rule?!”

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Protests Derailed: A History Of Polish Railways Getting Political

Polish state railways have been accused of deliberately keeping protestors from reaching the capital for an anti-government protest march. This is not the first controversy the railways have faced.

Photo of trains in the Warszawa Rembertów Station, Warsaw, Poland.

Warszawa Rembertów Station.

Piotr Stanisławski via Wikimedia Commons

Last June, Polish opposition leader and former President of the EU Commission Donald Tusk called on Polish citizens to protest against the “authoritarian” steps taken by the ruling party, PiS. Estimates by state organizers approximate that 500,000 participants marched in Warsaw, with smaller marches occurring in other Polish cities.

“Do you have enough of [PiS’s] lies, theft and corruption?” Tusk asked in a video published on his Facebook page. "Then come to Warsaw on the 4th of June… we will show them our might”.

In the days leading up to the protest and on the day of the event itself, passengers and groups of demonstrators blamed state railways for delayed train permits, inaccessibility for those with disabilities and a deficit in the train's ability to transport participants to the capital.

“This is how rail functions in Poland,” an anonymous passenger told Gazeta Wyborcza, “It is impossible to get to Warsaw for the March at 12pm from Szczecin.” The same passenger told Wyborcza they were “speechless” at the realization, adding that “it’s an outright exclusion of rail communication”.

This is not the first time that the state-run rail lines have come under fire for allegedly political acts.

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