Eight reasons to be scared of China (The Guardian)
A big part of my life has been spent in China. In Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and of course, Hong Kong.
My parents were born in Shanghai. My father was in the People’s Liberation Army. My parents met in Shanghai and married in Hong Kong. My mother is a Hong Kong native. I grew up in Hong Kong.
There’s no way I can summarize how much I know about Asia in just a few paragraphs. But I’ve tried to share a few things that you might not have heard. Here’s where I’ve tried to fill in the gaps.
Why is Hong Kong such a different world from the mainland?
People get bullied in mainland China. A “tiger” in the Hong Kong media is like a “bulldozer” in the mainland news. The difference: Hong Kong is a unique country with a very distinct culture, and a very distinctive way of life. The Hong Kong society does not look kindly upon outsiders.
Most people think it’s the Hong Kong people who are not like the mainland. The mainland is China. The mainland is all about big corporations, high tech, and fast cars. I’ve lived in five different cities in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong). I’ve seen what Chinese businesses look like, what Chinese tourists like to eat and buy, and how the Chinese media cover their news.
In Hong Kong, the people are polite. They have manners. I don’t know why. The people love their Hong Kong. At least that’s what the people who live here tell me. My wife is in Hong Kong, and she is a lovely person. I can find no reason to doubt that.
When I was a kid, I asked my mother this question: “Did you always live here?” She replied, “No, we moved to HK in 1966 when I was just 14.” When she asked me to write another entry about China as a kid, I had a big plan for a blog post. I’m not even sure how that post happened. It’s one of those things that started at a time when I was still in HK, and finished when I was 18 in the US.