【 New York Times 】   Post Date: 6/7/2015
Hong Kong’s Young People Feel Less Invested in Fight for Democracy on Mainland
Author: ALAN WONG and MICHAEL FORSYTHE
“I used to be a Chinese nationalist, and I considered myself Chinese,” said Mr. Hui, a 20-year-old business administration student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “I loved China the country — not the Communist Party — then. That was when I first started going to the candlelight vigil; I didn’t know better then.”
JUNE 4, 2015
20156705Sino-Rally3-master675.jpg (675×450)
Tens of thousands gathered at the candlelight vigil at Victoria Park, Hong Kong, on Thursday to mark the 26th anniversary of the military crackdown on protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Credit Tyrone Siu/Reuters
 
HONG KONG — For the first time in years, Hui King-to chose not to take part in the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park here commemorating those who died during the Chinese government’s suppression of protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989.
 
“I used to be a Chinese nationalist, and I considered myself Chinese,” said Mr. Hui, a 20-year-old business administration student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. “I loved China the country — not the Communist Party — then. That was when I first started going to the candlelight vigil; I didn’t know better then.”
 
“But when I came to realize how all these rallies were useless, I threw away all these Chinese nationalist thoughts,” he said.
 
Hong Kong, where residents enjoy civil liberties denied to mainland Chinese, has been the one place on Chinese soil where the government in Beijing has not been able to airbrush the events of 1989 from the collective memory.
 
But many young people, like Mr. Hui, have said they stayed away from this year’s vigil because they do not feel the need to commemorate events that happened before they were born — and in a place, mainland China, for which they feel little affinity.
 
An estimated 135,000 people were in Victoria Park Thursday night to commemorate the events in Beijing 26 years ago, according to Albert Ho, a Democratic Party lawmaker in attendance. That estimate was lower than the 180,000 that organizers said took part last year, and the smallest since 2008.
 
The police estimate — normally a fraction of the organizers’ estimate — said 46,600 people attended.
 
Surveys have indicated that young people in Hong Kong, China’s richest major city per capita, feel less affinity toward mainland China than before the 1997 handover from British colonial rule. Instead of feeling an attachment to China, they are looking inward, disillusioned by Beijing’s uncompromising stance on freer elections in Hong Kong, which set off huge student-led protests last year.
 
A long-running semiannual survey by the University of Hong Kong found that at the end of last year, 42.3 percent of people in the city identified as Hong Kongers, while 17.8 percent identified as Chinese — among the highest and lowest numbers since 1997.
 
Among people ages 18 to 29, 55 percent identified themselves as Hong Kongers, according to another widely cited poll, by the Hong Kong Transition Project.
 
For some, disillusionment with China has led to calls for more autonomy for Hong Kong, even independence. A separate rally organized by students at the University of Hong Kong was attended by hundreds of people. Some painted Chinese characters on the ground that read “The spark of democracy will glow forever.”
 
And across the harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui, another, very different rally was underway.
 
 
 
Key Words: June 4th,Tiananmen,Tiananmen Massacre,Hong Kong
Article Hits: 1056