According to recent surveys it’s Taiwanese and Hong Konger before it is Chinese when it comes to self-identification. Soon, will we see more mainlanders think of themselves as democrats and Chinese, much to the chagrin of the ruling Communist Party?
Ellen Bork takes a look at the changes taking place in the Chinese-speaking world and how democracy is making major inroads.
A few points Bork makes:
Hong Kong’s people have energetically defended their civil and political liberties. To Beijing’s chagrin, that includes holding demonstrations held each year on July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule
Despite their different policies on relations with China, today both of Taiwan’s major political parties consider democracy a non-negotiable element of any resolution of the island’s fate.
Looking further, Bork notes
The democratic identity developing among Tibetans in exile is also a challenge for Beijing.
Even as the Dali Lama repeats over and over that he is NOT calling for Tibet to split away from China but rather have similar autonomous rights granted Hong Kong.
Beijing keeps up the drumbeat that anyone calling for democratic rights are “splittists” (Tibet) or “slaves of dirty political money” (Hong Kong. At the same time Beijing is also denouncing anything that smacks of separating a Chinese identity from whatever Beijing says that identity.
Bork has a great line that sums it all up:
A civic identity that prioritizes democracy is an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party, which peddles a brand of nationalism based on chauvinism, xenophobia, and great power pretensions.
Obviously this manic obsession with controlling a people’s identity is part and parcel with the CCP’s perceived need to control all aspects of society, including the mainstream and social media.
Many thanks to The China Hotline for pointing this out.